2017-12-10 – Philippians 4:4-9 – Peaceful Home

2017-12-10 – Philippians 4.4-9 – Peaceful Home, pg 198

Good morning everyone. 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.

We are in the middle of a new sermon series over these first four weeks in December that is based upon or inspired by Advent. I pray you will enjoy these messages and that it somehow makes your Christmas season just a little more special as a result.

Last week we discussed the topic of Hope and how the Jews of the Old Testament were waiting and hoping for the coming Messiah/Savior. And as Christians, we are now waiting and hoping for the return of Christ one day. So as we are preparing for Christmas, my hope as your Pastor, is that you take some time to reflect on the true joy, peace and love, that the coming of the Christ child makes possible for each and every one of us.

Today’s message title is Peaceful Home, and we are going to reflect upon this lovely word Peace.

Please turn in your Bibles to Philippians 4:4, pg 198 in the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

These are great words of Paul to the church in Philippi while he was in prison.
[Let us Pray]

Again the title of this message today is Peaceful Home. The primary subject is  Peace, but especially as it relates to our home. The first thing that comes to mind with the word home, is the place where we live, where we lay our head at night. That is what most folk think about when you mention the word home. However there are a couple other places that are also referred to as home to Christians. Our church home for instance here, in this place. This is our church home. Where our church family comes together. The Bible tells us to not to forsake meeting with one another, and primarily the place we do that is here, at our church home. Now I cannot tell you how many times I have heard folks say that you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, that is true, however I would argue that if you are a Christian, you should desire to be with God’s people. Church was gifted to us by Christ as a place for worship, protection, networking, resources and so we can experience the peace and love of God together. That is our church home.

And then also there is our heavenly home. Where we hope to go one day, and where we really belong. Where Jesus has prepared a place for us, where there is no longer any weeping or gnashing of teeth. How does that song go? “There will be peace in the valley for me, some day. There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow, No trouble I see. There will be peace in the valley, for me” I can’t wait to see our heavenly home.

There are a lot of similarities in these different Christian home environments. Ideally, all of them are a place of security. A place of comfort and a place of peace. A place where God’s word is spoken and our Heavenly Father is prayed to and worshiped. Places that we go for rest and to get refreshed. Oh how I love all my homes, I couldn’t live well without any one of them. This world about us seems to be upside down and dark at times. And how blessed we are that we can put all the worlds craziness out of our minds and go to our home to rest and recharge. A home is meant to be a place of peace. That is God’s design and desire for us. We have been very fortunate here in this church home, as we have a beautiful church with wonderful and loving members. However we all have experienced times when that peaceful home idea is challenged.

I ran into a lady at Walmart here in town on Wednesday. As we were talking she was in tears as she was opening up her heart about her church home and the strife she and her family had experienced. I felt her pain. She did not have any peace at all in that regard. After hearing her story, we prayed right there in the middle of Walmart, and I will continue to pray that she finds peace in the days ahead. Home is a wonderful thing, it is truly a blessing, but with the blessings frequently come also sorrow and pain. That is the result of sin ladies and gentlemen. It isn’t God’s design, He never wanted for us to have pain and turmoil in our lives. God created a beautiful garden home for us, but through Adam and Eve, it became defiled and corrupt, so sad indeed. However our GOD is such a loving Father that despite our sin, He made a way for us to have a peaceful home once again, both here and in heaven, and that is what we are going to talk about here today, Peace that is everlasting.

Peace is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that is within us, and it plays an essential role in our becoming more like Jesus. It is rooted in our being in a right relationship with God, which is only possible because of His gift of salvation. Peace is also a product of our trust in God, and our confidence in His love for us.

Anyone remember these Peace Symbols? In the 70’s, the first two peace signs was used all the time here in the U.S. It was started I think in opposition of the Vietnam war. But then grew from that to be a general sign against civil authorities and the government. We all want peace, but we must also count the costs for that peace. The third peace symbol of the dove and the olive branch comes from the Bible story of Noah and the Flood, where a dove returned to the Arc with a freshly plucked olive leaf. The leaf reveals proof of land, the end of the flood, and for Christians the parallel of baptism. Peace is something we all want to achieve.

The Hebrew word for peace used in the Old Testament is shalom, and shalom is still a common greeting in Israel today. Shalom, along with its New Testament Greek equivalent, eirene, means tranquility, release from the havoc of war, and the absence of anxiety or stress. These Hebrew and Greek words convey the concept of being whole or sound, completeness, safety, health, and prosperity.

Throughout the New Testament, God is referred to as the God of peace.
Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

Peace, as spoken of in Scripture is expressed generally from three different angles: peace with God, peace within ourselves, and peace with other people—all of which complement one another and contribute to the fruit of peace in our lives.

First, Peace with God As Christians, the salvation we now have through Jesus has effectively repaired the gap between God and us that was caused by sin, so that we are now reunited with the Father. That sin gap was created by Eve and Adam, and it got them kicked out of the Garden of Eden paradise. But it did much more than that. It also separated us from Father God. It put a gaping hole in our relationship and our Peace with God. However because of Christ, our relationship can be restored. The Bible says in Romans 5:1, Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus has made a way for us to return to peace, as He has brought us back into a good relationship with God which was lost due to sin. It is because of this reconciliation that we can have wholeness and completeness; the peace of heart, mind, and spirit of shalom. Jesus is the only pathway to this kind of peace.
A firm trust that God has forgiven us and that we have a restored relationship with Him, coupled with our knowledge that God so loves and cares for us, can give us the true sense of full peace that is written about throughout Scripture:

Isaiah 26:3, You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you
Psalm 119:165, Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
John 14:27, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

I know so many people in the world that seem to have literally no peace. I have wrestled with so many that refuse to give up their agenda and accept Christ as their Savior. It just breaks my heart to watch them struggle with life so much. But the foundation of true peace is only made available through Jesus Christ. God’s gift of Salvation makes peace with ourselves and others possible despite our circumstances. God desires for us to have Peace with Him.

Second, Peace Within Ourselves – We tend to feel at peace when things are going well; when we’re healthy, happy, doing well financially, and not facing any major challenges. But biblical peace goes far beyond the peace we experience when everything is running smoothly. It’s a steadying anchor even in turbulent waters.

However, while we may have peace with God through salvation, this doesn’t necessarily translate to always having peace within ourselves. Although the difficulties in life will often drive us into the arms of the Lord, that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s more natural for us to go to the Lord when something major happens, whereas we frequently forget to do so with petty and reoccurring everyday difficulties. Often we are robbed of peace because we worry and fret over fairly minor events or challenges. We try to deal with them ourselves, instead of bringing them before the Lord and casting our burdens upon Him in faith and trust that He is with us and cares for us.

Life is just tough sometimes isn’t it? And we know that the Apostles and Jesus fell upon tough times as well. It’s interesting that in John 16, Jesus spoke to His disciples about peace the night before His crucifixion. He told them about the sorrow, trials, and tribulation they were going to face, but also of the peace they would have in Him as they went through them.
John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

These two promises that Jesus made to His disciples here hold true for us as well. First, He says that we will face difficulties in our lives. The difficulties we encounter can rob us of joy and peace by bringing pain and uncertainty. We don’t know what the outcomes will be, so we worry, maybe become anxious, apprehensive, and fearful. Jesus knew that and that is why he spoke of it here.

Second, Jesus promised that we could have peace in Him. We are to take heart in times of difficulty and uncertainty, because Jesus has overcome the world. This awareness brings us peace, as we put our trust in the Lord. Elsewhere, Jesus said 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.

The apostle Paul also urged us in Philippians 4:6–7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So a remedy for worry is to bring our cares to the Lord in prayer and trust that He knows all our troubles and that He loves us. We are not promised that when we bring our concerns to the Lord we will always be delivered from them, but we are promised that peace in Jesus is available for us, if we choose to accept it.

Sometimes the reason we don’t find peace in trying times is that we’re unwilling to settle for anything other than full deliverance from a problem. The promise however, is that we can pray for the resolution of what is causing our anxiety, and we can have that unexplainable peace which allows us to put our well-being into the Lord’s hands and trust that He knows our circumstances and will guard our hearts and minds against our anxiety. Prayer Brings Peace!

Of course, generally speaking, when we bring our fears before the Lord we’re looking for a solution to the cause of those worries, or a deliverance from them. While praying for a solution is completely legitimate, often a solution takes time, and sometimes a great deal of time, during which as Christians we can find peace because we’ve effectively put our concerns into the Lord’s hands. We’ve followed God’s instructions and made our requests known to Him. And having petitioned the Lord for help, we can experience His peace. Peace is also one of the fruits of the Spirit, thus the Holy Spirit can produce peace within us. We are to pray for peace and look to God for it. Peace I will give you He says. Trust the Lord for this.

And Third, scripture instructs us about having Peace with Others.
Most of you know what is referred to as “the fruit of the Spirit”, which according to Galatians 5:22 is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. The Apostle Paul also includes a list of sins that we’re often tempted with, He calls them “the works of the flesh” which include actions that are the opposite of peace, such as hate, conflict, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, disagreements, divisions, and envy. So as believers we have a lot of emotions and actions to wrestle with as we strive to be more Christ-like in character. And especially as it relates to having Peace with Others. Throughout the New Testament, there are a number of references that relate to being at peace with others.

Matthew 5:9, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Romans 12:18, If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 14:19, Let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Colossians 3:15, Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.
Hebrews 12:14, Strive for peace with everyone.
1 Peter 3:10–11, Whoever desires to love life and see good days, … let him seek peace and pursue it.

 

We are to pursue peace, strive for it, seek it, and do as much as we can to live peaceably with others. We are to be single-minded about it, to leave no stone unturned in trying to achieve it, being willing to humble ourselves to reach the goal of peace with others. Of course, being at peace with others doesn’t only depend on us, which is why Paul wrote in Romans 12:18, “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”. Sometimes the other party doesn’t want peace, but in such situations, we are called to do what we can to be at peace with them.

As Christians, we should be the ones to take the initiative to restore peace, regardless of whether we have wronged someone or they have wronged us.

Matthew 5:23–24, when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled, and then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 18:15, If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

So it doesn’t matter who was at fault, our goal as Christians should always be to restore peace in a godly manner. If we’ve offended someone, whether they’re Christian or not, it is our responsibility to do what we can to restore the peace.
If we have been offended by the actions or words of someone else, especially family members, we are not to seek revenge or repay evil for evil. That is not God’s will for you. Instead, as Christians, as one who seek to live godly lives, who want to be more like Jesus, we should continue to strive for peace with everyone.

I have struggled with this one myself, not that I wish anyone harm, but I would rather just forget some of them evil-doers all together. I have been cheated many times in my life, probably not unlike many of you, and I have the bruises to prove it. My natural instincts would cause me not to ever have anything to do with them ever again. However, knowing Christ’s character, I know that would not be His will for me. So I pray for them. I still don’t seek them out, but if God intervenes and brings them back into my life someday, I would forgive them. And in that I have peace.

Living in keeping with what the Bible instructs is tough sometimes, but it is what will give us peace in the end. The byproduct of living in conjunction with God’s Word is a life blessed with wholeness, contentment, security and peace of mind. When we make God’s Word and God’s Will the foundation of our lives; when we look to it for guiding principles for our thoughts, decisions, and actions; when we do what it says; then we can experience the peace that God offers.

It’s not as if we will never face difficult problems, or suffer or worry; but when we do, we can still have the peace which comes from knowing and trusting that our Father will make it all right in the end. We may not find the resolutions to some problems in this life, but we can still be at peace knowing that His truth, justice, and love will prevail in the life to come.

It’s in communion with the Lord, abiding in Him, trusting Him, following Him, that we find the path of true peace. Our possessions, finances, or circumstances are not what bring us peace. Abiding in God, living His Word, trusting Him for everything, is how we find the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.

Now there isn’t anything wrong with being successful materially or being happy in our relationships, but a problem can arise if we put our trust in our possessions or circumstances, believing that they will bring us satisfaction, our hearts’ desires, and peace. The truth is that when we prioritize our lives around material things or our physical circumstances, peace is often the casualty. As a result, we might end up struggling to sleep at night, our hearts heavy with worry, our minds racing, because by trusting in these things instead of in God, we have forfeited peace, which is one of the most wonderful gifts available to Christians.

Psalm 85:10 says, “righteousness and peace kiss each other”. Isn’t that an interesting quote. I hope you see living in accordance with God’s Word brings peace to your life. You can’t have true peace without righteousness. Having a deep connection with the Lord, living out His instructions, and having a clear conscience result in a soul full of peace, regardless of the challenges and adversities of everyday life, and that is something to be prized above all our possessions and relationships. Keeping our hearts right with God, while sometimes difficult, is well worth the effort because of the peace it brings.

Most of all, knowing that our Father loves us and has sacrificed His Son for us is the foundation for the confidence to trust Him with every aspect of our lives, no matter what our circumstances. We are going to our wonderful heavenly home as a result, and that confidence is what ultimately what should give us lasting peace.

So with these Peaceful instructions, I pray that you can learn to apply God’s perfect recipe for peace, to your family home, your church home, and inevitably your eternal home as well. That is God’s will for you dear Christian. To make your homes a peaceful island in the midst of life’s storms and turbulent waters. Become more intentional about discovering God’s truth together, laughing together, and encouraging each other along the way. God knows we need peaceful homes, now more than ever.

Finally, as Paul wrote to the church in Philippi and is our closing verse today, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you”.

Will you accept His invitation and recipe for peace today?
As we stand and close, I have a music video to share with you called Let there be peace. That peace opportunity comes to us through Emanuel, Jesus on the cross, but it all started by a baby born in a manger which we celebrate as Christmas.

 2017-12-10 – Philippians 4:4-9 – Peaceful Home, pg 198

 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.