These are the notes from my sermon preached Wednesday night 11-18-09 at my home church (Church Hill Baptist Church, Augusta, Maine). My Pastor called me Wednesday morning to ask me if I would be willing to preach that evening since he needed to be home with his ailing wife and children. I jumped at the chance. Here is what the Lord gave me to share....
We all know that as we approach Thanksgiving and then Christmas, well...., things get pretty hectic. How many can identify with this situation: "Oh, No! I burned the pie! The Jones' will be here soon. What am I going to do?" or "I have been looking for this toy for days and everybody's out!" Often times it is easy to forget about that peace that God promises. Maybe you have never been saved, there will be no peace at all. For the child of God, we have peace, but how do we draw upon that peace? How do we experience that peace? As is ALWAYS the case, God's word has the answer for us. In the book of Philippians 4:4-9 the Lord lays out for us 5 steps to peace.
- Verse 4, Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. We need to rejoice in the Lord always. Often times we allow our personal situations dictate how much we praise our Lord. When times are good it is "Hey, Praise the Lord, God is good!". What is on our lips when times are not so good? I know from personal experience that it is easy to praise the Lord when times are good, but when the heat is turned up, it isn't so easy. We need to daily take stock of how good God is to us. Child of God, do you realize that God left the glory of Heaven, put on a robe of skin, walked this dusty earth and then became sin and died on the cross, rising again the third day! He conquered the grave so that we may trust in Him and have everlasting life! If that does not get your shouter working, nothing will! Many remember the song "Count your blessings". That is excellent advice. Take stock of how God has provided in your life. God is so good and we need to rejoice in the Lord alway!
- Verse 5, Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. We need to make sure we are living right in front of all men. When we leave the church, we are on public display for all to see. A child of God ought to be distinct from the world. 1 Peter 2:9 reads But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. We need to be distinct from the world. We are a "peculiar people". Peculiar here does not mean weird, it means to be set apart. We should not strive to blend in to the world. What are your standards? Everybody has standards, are yours Biblical or worldly? When you are shopping in the grocery store and you bump into someone from church, are you hiding anything in your cart? What is your standard for dress? What is your standard for speech? We need to be distinct from the world (Romans 12:2) and let our moderation be known unto all men.
- Verse 6: We need to practice prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. How is your prayer life? Does it consist of "God bless the food, Amen." and nothing else? We all know what prayer is, although there are many, many good sermons on prayer, we all have the basic knowledge. What is supplication? The Greek root means to "petition, beseech, beg". There are times and issues for which we must "shake the gates of heaven". For example, a loved one is lost and on their way to hell. You have been praying for them for quite a long time, but they still don't seem to move at all. Don't give up. Beg God. Beseech the Lord. Pray fervently (James 5:16) and do not give up. In Genesis 32, Jacob did not give up when he was wrestling with the Lord. He held on to God "until the breaking of the day". He so badly desired the blessing that he held on through the night, despite the pain of a dislocated hip. Supplication is a must. Verse 6 also says "with thanksgiving". Don't let your prayers be nothing more than a laundry list of what you need. Thank the Lord for all He has done for you. God does not need our praise and thanksgiving, for even the rocks will cry out if we are silent. God does desire his children to have a spirit of thankfulness. Is that your heart?
- Verse 8: have a pure heart. What do you do when nobody else is looking? What are you setting in front of your eyes? What are you thinking about when you think nobody else is around? The Word of God tells us in verse 8 of Philippians 4 that we should think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, with praise. What does your mind wander to when it is idle? Does that thought meet these qualifications? We need to keep a pure mind and the Lord can help us with that. If we are staying active in our Bible studying (the Word of God does not just tell us to read our Bible, it tells us to study) and our prayer life, you will be able to withstand any temptations that come your way. If you fail to "take heed" you will "fall".
- Verse 9: whatever Biblical counsel you have received, do. If you are reading God's Word daily and you are faithful in your church attendance (if you are going to a solid independent, fundamental Baptist church that preaches and teaches right out of the good old King James Bible) and faithful in your prayer life, you will have no problems with the "do".
If you want the God of peace to be with you. If you desire the peace of God which passeth all understanding, follow these steps from God's word and you will have peace. True inner peace.