Pattern For Perfect Peace
Take a look at Philippians 4:6-9. “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
Maybe you’ve heard about the bricklayer who had to take a leave of absence from his job. He made a written report as to what had happened to him. Here’s what he wrote in the report:
“I left too many bricks on top of the building. To get them down, I rigged up a contrivance with a pulley and rope fixed to the top of the building. I tied the rope to a barrel on the ground and hoisted the barrel up to the roof. I filled the barrel with bricks then went back down and untied the rope. That’s when I realized the barrel of bricks was heavier than I was. When the barrel started down, I started up. I didn’t have the presence of mind to let go of the rope. The barrel and I met in the middle and it gave be quite a laceration on the shoulder. I managed to hold on though and went all the way to the top where I wedged my fingers in the pulley.
About that time the barrel hit the ground and the bottom came out of the barrel. Now the barrel is lighter than I am, so I started down and the barrel started up. Again, we met in the middle and I got a laceration on the shin. I managed to hold on until I hit the ground on the pile of bricks. That’s when I finally had the presence of mind to let go of the rope and the barrel came down and hit me on the head!”
I think we can all relate to this guy at some time or the other. We don’t know whether we’re coming or going. Sometimes we’re up; sometimes we’re down. We’re getting hit from every side and we don’t know whether to hold on or let go! But the good news is that we can have peace in the midst of a perplexing world.
I want you to notice the five steps for perfect peace that I’ll give you in this lesson. The key to understanding this passage on peace is in the word “things”. Count up how many times the word “thing” or “things” is used in the passage we just read. Then, in *verse 9 Paul says, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
Peace is having a proper relationship to the things you come in contact with. It’s in knowing how to deal with the things that come into your life. When you learn how to deal with all those things as God would have you to deal with them, you’ll have God’s perfect peace.
The first principle for peace is to worry about no thing. *Verse 6 says, “Be careful for nothing…” You say, “Pastor, it’s easy for you to tell us not to worry about anything while you’re standing there in the pulpit.” Hey, it’s not me standing in the pulpit that’s telling you these things; it’s the Apostle Paul in prison who’s telling you this.
There are at least 3 reasons why none of us should worry. First of all, worry is wasteful. You’re wasting on worry the energy that should be used to solve the problem. Worry has never solved a problem, or dried a tear, or lifted a burden. Jesus said, “Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature?” The best thing you can say about worry is that it’s wasteful.
Also, worry is harmful. It’ll harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually. Worry does to you what sand does to machinery.
It not only harms you; it harms others. We need to have a place where we can put all the worry warts in quarantine! Worry is contagious. Worry even hurts God. When you worry, you’re calling God a liar when He says, “All things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
Also, worry is sinful. Worry is the opposite of faith. There was a man who was known for being a worry wart. But one day he appeared with a bounce in his step and victory in his voice and a smile on his face. His friend asked, “What changed you?” He said, “I don’t worry any more because I discovered a professional worrier that I’ve hired to do my worrying for me.” His friend said, “That’s wonderful! What does it cost you?” He said, “A thousand dollars per week.” His friend said, “Wow, that’s a lot of money! You don’t have that kind of money. How are you going to pay for that?” He said, “That’s his worry.”
Well, there really is someone we can cast all our cares upon. The Bible tells us to cast all our cares upon Jesus, for He cares for you. It doesn’t cost a thousand dollars per week either!
So, the first principle for having perfect peace in a perplexing world is to worry about no thing. How are we going to do that? The second point tells us. Pray about all things. When I say “all things,” I mean small things as well as big things. By the way, some things don’t have to be prayed about. You don’t have to pray about whether or not you ought to be a witness for Christ. That’s a command. It doesn’t have to be prayed about….you just do it.
Someone asked G. Campbell Morgan, “Mr. Morgan, do you think we ought to bother God with all those little things?” He said, “Lady, what’s in your life that you think is big to God?” It’s all small stuff to Him! Compared to His might and glory, the only things we have to bring to Him are small things.
When we come to God in prayer, we come receiving peace. We sing about it. “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief’s to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to Him 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.”
The place of prayer is not only the place of power and provision; its’ also the place of peace.
“I met God in the morning, when the day was at its best, and His presence came like sunrise, like a glory to my breast. All day long the presence lingered, all day long He stayed with me, and we sailed in perfect calmness o’er a very troubled sea. Other ships were blown and battered, other ships were sore distressed. But the winds that seemed to drive them, brought to us a peace and rest. Then I thought of other mornings, with a keen remorse of mind, when I, too, had loosed the moorings with the Presence left behind. So I think I know the secret, learn from many a troubled way, you must seek Him in the morning if you want Him through the day.”
If we would get up in the mornings and saturate our souls with Jesus and learn to pray about everything that needs to be prayed about; if we would just put our arms on the window sills of Heaven and gaze into the face of our Lord in prayer, what peace we would have!
Worry about no thing, pray about all things; but then be thankful for everything. *
*Verse 6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” We not only need to learn how to say, “Please,” but we also need to learn how to say, “Thank you.”
You can’t have a thankful spirit and a worried spirit at the same time. You say, “I can’t thank God for the bad things!” Listen, you don’t thank God because things are good; you thank God because God is good.
When things go bad, just start praising God and watch what happens!
Worry about no thing, pray about all things, be thankful for everything, and think on the best things. *Verse 8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
You are what you think. You may not be what you think you are, but what you think, you are. Jesus said, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If you’re thinking the wrong things, it will be impossible for you to have peace. If you are thinking impure thoughts, you will have impurity in your life. But if you’re thinking pure thoughts, you will have purity in your life.
You say, “Pastor, I can’t control my thoughts.” Oh, yes you can! Let’s do an experiment. For the next five seconds I don’t want you to think about an elephant. Don’t do it! Whatever you do, DO NOT THINK OF AN ELEPHANT! You’re saying, “Well, if you’d just shut up!” Hey, I’m just you’re inner conscience telling you not to think of an elephant.
Listen, the Bible says, “Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” God has made you so that you can’t think two thoughts at the same time. If you’re thinking about what’s right, you can’t be thinking about what’s wrong. If you think right, you’ll be right. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
You say, “So what are those things which are true, and honest, and just and pure, and lovely, and of good report, and worthy of virtue and praise?” Folks, this is probably the shortest biography of Jesus anywhere in the Bible. This is the sum total of the character of Jesus Christ. “Keep your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face!”
Saturate your life with the things of God and you’ll have peace. Some people only look at the negative side of things. And they go about trying to rid themselves of those negative thoughts in the wrong way. Listen, you can’t beat the darkness out of a room with a broomstick! But you can turn on the light. You can’t drive those thoughts out of your mind but you can put good thoughts in there to replace them.
You can choose your thoughts just like you can choose your friends. “Two men looked through prison bars. One saw mud, the other saw stars.”
Think on the best things. Fall in love with the Word of God. Make friends with the people of God. Surround yourself with the things that will make for peace.
Here’s the last way to have peace in a perplexing world: do the right thing. *Verse 9 says, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Draw a circle around the word “do.”
One cure for worry is work. If you’re just sitting around going through morbid introspection, no wonder you don’t have peace! But when you refuse to worry about anything; when you pray about all things; when you’re thankful for everything; when you do the best things, then it’s time for you to get up and start to live the Christian life.
When we’re busy doing the right things, we’re too busy to worry about wrong things. Your actions and your attitudes are linked together.
Impression without expression leads to depression. If you come to church and hear a good Sunday school lesson or a good sermon and don’t do anything about it, you’ll become depressed. Paul says, “What you’ve seen, heard and learned; do. And if you do that, God’s peace will be with you.”
Jesus said in *John 13:17, “If you know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” You can turn that around and say, “If you know those things and don’t do them, you’re headed for unhappiness.” It’s better not to have known the way of truth than to know it and not do it.
God’s best psychology is right here in His Book. But what are the results of this peace? First, if you do these things, the peace of God will guard you. *Verse 7 says, “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The word “keep” is the word for “guard” or “to garrison about.” Paul says, “You don’t keep this peace; this peace keeps you.” It guards you.
When Paul wrote this, he was being guarded as a prisoner. He’s saying, “Just like this man guards me, the peace of God will guard you.” If the peace of God guards us, then that helps us to understand why he says it’s the peace that passes all understanding. This world doesn’t understand what peace is. This world thinks that peace is the absence of problems. This world thinks that if you have good health and no enemies and a healthy bank account, then you have peace.
But Jesus says, “Not as the world giveth give I unto you.” He gives a peace that the world can’t give. Therefore, it’s a peace that the world can’t take away. The world can’t understand how Paul can be in prison writing about joy and peace.
Do you have a peace that passes all understanding? We’re to worry about no thing and praise Him for everything. Why? Because it’s all in God’s hands.
Peace is not the subtraction of problems from your life; it’s the addition of power to meet those problems. If it was the subtraction of problems, you wouldn’t need a guard, would you? The reality is that the problems are there….but so is the guard.
There is the peace of God to guard you, but there is also the God of peace to guide you. Verse 9 says, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
If you have the peace of God and the God of peace, what more do you need? You can have them both if you’ll apply these principles to your life.
“God’s people ought to walk in perfect peace before Him, because His love has no limits, His grace has no measure, His power no boundary known unto men; for out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”
May the God of peace be with you.