2020-06-21 – Philippians 4.4-9 – Gift of Peace
Bible Text: Philippians 4:4-9 | Preacher: Jeremiah Bullock, Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: Peace | Video – 2020-06-21 – Philippians 4.4-9 – Gift of Peace
Greetings everyone. I am Pastor Jerry from the First Baptist church Orion Illinois. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
I am excited about today’s message and I am confident that you will enjoy these services today. First we will we have for you first a couple songs, followed by Jeremy giving us the opening scripture. Then we will have a short Father’s Day message followed by our main sermon. But first let us open with prayer.
Again Happy Father’s day everyone, For the message today, I thought it would be good to complement the verses we talked about over the last few weeks that highlighted the forthcoming Tribulation period that Jesus warned us about. In that He said that we should expect chaos and calamity in the years to come.
We are to expect to see and experience many challenges to both our faith and our physical presence. Frankly it can be a scary proposition to contemplate for sure. So I thought it would be a good opportunity to instill the understanding that we can still have peace in the chaos because of Jesus Christ and His Gift of Peace, which is the title of this message.
Please turn in your Bibles to Philippians 4:4 (page 1042) of God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word. But let us first start with Prayer.
Again today we have a topical sermon on the subject of Peace, Peace. Our first scripture comes from the apostle Paul. In our bibles it is called A Final Exhortation to the Philippi church. In Philippians 4, starting at verse 4 he wrote:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
I love these first verses. In the midst of all the toil and conflict in our world these days, I need encouraging verses like these to frankly keep me going. I can’t help to think that it hurts God’s heart to see such turmoil and unrest in our world. My heart and mind too are sometimes deeply troubled by all the evil doings I hear or see these days in the news. Even though I know these type of things have been going on since Adam and Eve left the garden, it still pains me to think about all the toil and suffering going on in our world. As Christians we must realize that it is surely not God’s will for us to be fueling hate and spreading distrust amongst the people. I pray you don’t fall prey to Satan’s schemes in this regard. Instead, we are to be a people of peace, and in that effort we will also experience God’s peace ourselves.
As a Christian church family we are supposed to set an example in our community and make every effort to help each other get along peacefully until the Lord calls us home. How could we possible carry out the Great Commission of Jesus, to reach out and make disciples of all nations if we don’t first learn to love each other. It would be impossible. No, we are to reflect the love of God to everyone He puts into our path. Even the first church believers which included both Jews and Gentiles, realized that it was God’s will that they come together as a people to effect positive change and to point others to Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:17-18 says, “When the Messiah came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father”.
So I hope you can see, we too are supposed to continue to strive to become one people who share the Gospel peace of Jesus with one another and to the world.
Peace is something everyone wants yet few seem to find these days. Peace can be defined as “tranquility, harmony, security or well-being depending on the situation. Word’s conveying peace are found 429 times in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the primary Hebrew word for “peace” is shalom, and it refers to the relationships between people, nations, and God with men. “Shalom” or “Peace” is a standard greeting used in many cultures even today, and for good reason I might add. Sometimes it is hard to tell a friend from a foe, but starting out with the word peace might lend to peace indeed.
The Bible has a lot to say about this thing called peace. Jesus Himself is called the Prince of Peace. Peace is directly related to the actions and attitudes of individuals; but it is ultimately a gift from God Himself. God commands us to seek peace. Jesus said in Matthew 5:9 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. I don’t know about you, but I want to be blessed by God and be called a son of God.
In Romans 14:19 the Apostle Paul wrote, “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding”.
So how might we pursue what “makes for peace”? In this statement, Paul is urging those who are strong in their faith to be willing to set aside their needs for the sake of the Gospel. To show empathy and love for one another. Of course, there will always be some people who do not desire peace, you can’t always control that, but you can control what you do. As it says in Romans 12:18
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”.
Believers have an obligation to “let the peace of God “rule” in our hearts, as it says in Colossians 3:15. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace”. This means we have the choice either to trust God’s promises (letting His peace rule) or to rely on ourselves and reject the peace that He offers. Jesus gave His disciples peace based on the truth that He has overcome this world. Peace is also one of the fruits of the Spirit, so if we are allowing the Spirit of God to “rule” in our lives, we will then experience His blessed peace offering. Do you want that peace?
The Bible tells us that this world we live in will continue to have wars and conflicts until Jesus comes again to establish His true and everlasting peace. We talked about that these past three weeks of sermons. I can hardly wait until that day comes; I want that everlasting peace.
About that promised future time of peace, in Isaiah 11 the prophet wrote,
“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain”.
Again, I can hardly wait until that day. But until then, we hold on to that hope in that blessed future. As for today, the Bible says God will give His peace to those who trust Him. And once His peace rules in our hearts, we are then able to share that peace with others. In doing so we then become instruments of God’s peace, and effectively ministers of His reconciliation. We become part of God’s solution.
Again that doesn’t mean that you will be free of strive and concern. Unfortunately, we live in this world that is currently ruled by satan and his minions. But you have all heard the saying “Be in the world but not of the world”. I will be the first to admit that it is sometimes hard not to fall pray to satan’s schemes. All around us is chaos and fear sometimes. But these next verses I believe is God’s prescription for our stress and anxiety.
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8 Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things. 9 Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Isn’t that a beautiful salutation and prescription for us to follow? If you ever find yourself dwelling too much on unhealthy things. If you find yourself stuck in stinking-thinking, get your mind right by doing as these verses prescribe. And most of that can be found in reading God’s Holy Word. Turn off the TV, open up the Good Book, and “dwell on these things”. This is God’s love letter to you brothers and sisters, don’t take it for granted, dwell on what it says dear Christian, and God’s peace will be found for you again. However, if you haven’t accepted yet Jesus’s saving grace, then His word’s will probably mean nothing.
So the question is, have you put your trust in Jesus yet? Have you chosen to call Him your personal Lord and Savior? If you have then you are part of His Holy solution, to bring His peace to the world. But if you haven’t accepted Jesus’s gift of eternal life, I beg you to consider doing that today. It is pretty simple and it will have eternal consequences. All you have to do is acknowledge that Jesus died for you on the cross. That He paid the price for your sins. In prayer, ask God to forgive you. Ask Him to come into your heart today and make you a new creation. A born-again believer. Then find a local church to join and then start living the life of Peace that God most desires for you. God’s love will change you from the inside out. His desire is that we who know Him, learn to live in peace within ourselves first. Then we can radiate or reflect that peace onto others.
I love what Jesus spoke as written in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid”. Besides it being so heartfelt and so meaningful, it is important for us to realize deep in our souls that Jesus said this to His disciples the day before He put Himself up on the cross at calvary. At a time that most of us would probably be upside down with grief, stress and worry, Jesus again shows us His amazing love and compassion. He wasn’t just a man of peace, He was truly their Messiah and Savior, and He can truly be our Messiah and Savior as well. How blessed are we. Thank you Jesus!
Finally, for this short message on peace, I wish to close with one stanza of a song that has brought me much peace through the years. It is called:
It Is Well with My Soul by Audrey Assad
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak with you today.
May the God of Peace, bless you all today. Let us now close with prayer.