Faith the Stress Buster (2)

Phil 4:6-7

6 Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. NLT

This message was preached March 9, 2003 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at ToulonBaptist.com

Paul last week gave us a very simple formula for stress relief. Don't worry about anything, pray about everything, tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has already done. Very simple. And in reality this is the very basis and form of worship. Worship is composed of trust, prayer, supplications, and praise and thanksgiving.

Notice how this all has to do with God. God is sovereign over the affairs of men and He accomplishes His will. Prayer, praise and thanksgiving are only the responses of a faithful people.

Now Paul does not indicate that these great actions on the part of the faithful are of no avail in this matter of peace of mind. Instead Paul says that "If you do this." The idea is that if you do your part, God will do His part. That these are not simply commands of a powerful God who demands without multiplying blessings.

Now there will be some who will try to explain the miracle of peace of mind by natural cause and effect, but it cannot be done. The peace that Paul refers to here is a gift. It is not found in transcendental meditation, or in eating mushrooms. You cannot find in a bottle of snake oil on the internet.

You can no more explain the peace that Paul talks of here than you can explain Jesus walking of the water or of Him multiplying the fish and loaves. It is a work of God, beyond human investigation or understanding. That is why it works, because God does it and not we ourselves. Oh you can find temporary rest by a cool stream listening to some relaxing music, but when you get back into the real world your peace goes out the window. In reality those times of seclusion only lead to a greater desire to get away.

But the peace that Paul speaks of does not come only when we are alone at our prayer and communion with God. It is a peace that clams us even in the greatest storms of life. A peace that not only gives moments of rest in seclusion but hours of calmness in the midst of the raging storm.

If you want that peace, then you will need to do what we talked about in last weeks message, but we can't take time to re-preach last weeks message or we would not be able to consider verse 7. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 You will experience God's peace

  1. The key here is it is God's peace and not human peace.
    1. John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. NLT
    2. Isa 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!
    3. . . . the peace of God is so precious that man's mind, with all its skill and all its knowledge, can never produce it. It can never be of man's contriving; it is only of God's giving. The way to peace is in prayer to entrust ourselves and all whom we hold dear to the loving hands of God. Barclay
  2. It is the same peace that God has.
    1. All Christians have peace with God, and all Christians may have the peace of God, i.e., that inward tranquility of soul grounded in God's presence, God's promise, and God's power. One may have peace with God without having the peace of God. Peace with God is dependent upon faith, and peace of God is dependent upon prayer. Peace with God describes the state between God and the Christian, and the peace of God describes the condition within the Christian. Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.
    2. Have you ever realized that God is the most at peace being in the universe.
    3. He never is worried or anxious.
    4. Num 6:26 May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.' NLT
  3. This means that we can have peace even in the midst of trials.
    1. John 16:33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." NLT
    2. 2 Thess 3:16 May the Lord of peace himself always give you his peace no matter what happens. NLT
  4. God's peace is different from the world's peace (see John 14:27). True peace is not found in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feelings. It comes from knowing that God is in control. Our citizenship in Christ's Kingdom is sure, our destiny is set, and we can have victory over sin. Let God's peace guard your heart against anxiety. Life Application Bible, Notes
  1. Which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand
    1. As I have already said, the peace that God gives us cannot be comprehended or analyzed by human intelligence.
    2. Man always want to quantify everything.
      1. But you can't quantify this peace that God gives.
      2. Read the testimonies of the martyrs and try to comprehend the peace they displayed in the face or torture and death.
      3. It is beyond understanding.
      4. It is so marvelous that we cannot even imagine its power.
  2. His peace will guard
    1. This word guard is deserving of particular notice.
      1. Gurnall, a little differently: "The peace of God is said to garrison the believer's heart and mind. He is surrounded with such blessed privileges that he is as safe as one in an impregnable castle" ("Christian in Complete Armor," p. 419). Vincent's Word Studies Vol. 3: The Epistles of Paul
      2. (an idiom, literally 'to guard a guarding'): to be on one's guard against some eventuality - 'to guard against, to keep under watch, to watch over.''guarding their flock during the night' Luke 2:8. : Louw & Nida: NT Greek-English Lexicon
      3. The verb rendered will keep... safe is a military term. It pictures a garrison or a military sentinel "keeping guard over" a city or a fort to maintain peace and to protect against attacks. The city of Philippi in Paul's time was guarded by a Roman garrison, so the metaphor would probably appeal to his readers. What Paul says to his friends is this: as the result of your prayers God's peace will stand like a guard to keep your hearts and minds safe from attacks of worries and anxieties. (from the UBS Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies)
      4. God's peace as a sentinel mounts guard over our lives. . . from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
      5. The word for "guard" (phroureo, Gk.) in v. 7 is a first-century term for high security, denoting to "set a watch," "stand guard," or "keep securely locked." The peace which comes only from God will stand guard over the believers' hearts and minds by means of Jesus Christ. "Be anxious" in v. 6 comes from merimnao (Gk.), which basically meant to be distracted or to have a divided mind. The Believers Study Bible
      6. Will guard: Paul's choice of a military term implies that the mind is in a battle zone and needs to be "protected by a military guard." Since the purpose of such a guard in a wartime situation is either to prevent a hostile invasion or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from escaping, the peace of God operates in the same way: to protect the mind from external corrupting influences and to keep the mind focused on God's truth. The Nelson Study Bible
      7. Daniel gives us a wonderful illustration of peace through prayer. When the king announced that none of his subjects was to pray to anyone except the king, Daniel went to his room, opened his windows, and prayed as before (Dan. 6:1-10). Note how Daniel prayed. He "prayed, and gave thanks before his God" (Dan. 6:10) and he made supplication (Dan. 6:11). Prayer -- supplication -- thanksgiving! And the result was perfect peace in the midst of difficulty! Daniel was able to spend the night with the lions in perfect peace, while the king in his palace could not sleep (Dan. 6:18). Warren Wiersbe Be Series: NT
    2. Now isn't that a wonderful sight.
      1. Can you see that peace of God and the tower or your heart and mind, guarding against any event that might be coming your way.
      2. The idea is not that it defends us when attacked.
      3. The idea is that it is guarding us ahead of time so we are always at peace.
  3. Your hearts and minds
    1. "the peace of God" stands guard over the two areas that create worry - the heart (wrong feeling) and the mind (wrong thinking). When we give our hearts to Christ in salvation, we experience "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1); but the "peace of God" takes us a step farther into His blessings. This does not mean the absence of trials on the outside, but it does mean a quiet confidence within, regardless of circumstances, people, or things. Warren Wiersbe Be Series: NT
  4. As you live in Christ Jesus
    1. He is the agent
      1. Much like using an automobile.
        1. We say I am going to run to Kewanee.
        2. We are not running at all, it is the car that runs.
          1. it carries us
          2. it protects us
          3. it shelters us
          4. it gets us there safe
          5. it takes less time
          6. etc
        3. But you have to get in it.
      2. Many people wonder why this promise is not working for them.
      3. It is because Jesus is still in the garage of your life.
    2. 1 Pet. 1:5, 6 And God, in his mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting him. It will be revealed on the last day for all to see. 6 So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.
    3. Isa 48:18 Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling like waves. NLT

That peace of God is able to keep your hearts and minds. That is not the problem is it?

The problem is that we have not done our part and we wonder where is this peace I hear about. Get Jesus out of storage and pray, praise, give thanks and worship Him as He deserves and He will keep your heart and mind.

 proora/w G4632 (prohorao4), see previously, see in advance, foresee (the future), know already, take care that.

 CL The vb. prohorao4 (from pro, in front, before, and horao4, see, notice) is attested in the spatial sense of seeing in front of one since Homer (Od., 5, 393), and in the sense of foreseeing or knowing the future in advance, first in Pindar (Nem. 1, 27).

 OT 1 In the LXX prohorao4, and all the forms of proidein, are found only in Ps. 138:3 (139:3) ("thou seest all my ways (before)") of God's forward-reaching sight and knowledge, in Ps. 15:8 (16:8)of a man keeping the Lord before his eyes, in Gen. 37:18 of Joseph's being seen from a distance by his brothers, and in 1 Esd. 5:63 of those who had seen the former house of God.

 2 Philo used the word largely in the temporal sense of foreseeing dangers (Praem., 72) and in combination with pro/noia, the providence of God (Deus. Imm., 29), by which God in contrast to men foresees what is coming. In Josephus we find in addition the meaning to make provision for (e.g. Ant., 16, 378).

 NT In the NT prohorao4, see before, is attested 4 times. In Gal. 3:8 Paul says, with ref. to Gen. 12:3, that the Scripture (here personalized) foresaw "that God would justify the Gentiles by faith." The three other passages are in Acts and mean to have in front of one's eyes (Acts 2:25, quoting Ps. 16:8), to have seen already before (Acts 21:29), and--similarly to the Pauline ref.--to foresee or foreknow (2:31, with ref. to Ps. 16:10: David spoke with foresight or foreknowledge of the resurrection). The vb. is thus not used in the NT--any more than pronoeo4 and pronoia--to describe the activity of God. P. Jacobs, H. Krienke

NIDNTT

 Title: The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament

When the exhortations of verses 4-6 are heeded, the peace of God (v. 7) will flood one's troubled soul. The Lord Jesus Christ is a believer's peace (Eph. 2:14), and every child of God has peace with God through justification by faith (Rom. 5:1). But the peace of (or from) God relates to the inner tranquillity of a believer's close walk with God.

This peace of God transcends all understanding, that is, it is beyond man's ability to comprehend. This peace guards the believers. Guard (phroureôsei,also used in 1 Peter 1:5) translates a military term which means "to protect or garrison by guarding." Like soldiers assigned to watch over a certain area, God's peace garrisons the hearts and… minds, that is, the emotions and thoughts, of God's children.

 Title: The Expositors Bible Commentary, New Testament

4:7 Having just given us a classic exhortation to pray, Paul attaches to it the beautiful promise that when we turn from anxiety to prayer and thanksgiving, God will give us his own peace. This peace is for those who are already at peace with God through justification by faith in Christ (Rom 5:8). Although some explain he hyperechousa panta noun ("which transcends all understanding," NIV) as meaning that God's peace accomplishes far more than any human forethought or plan might devise, the comparable expression in Ephesians 3:20 shows that the common rendering is preferable. The NIV rendering or the KJV, "which passeth all understanding," well conveys the sense. For the peace of God not only suffices but far surpasses human comprehension. It acts as a sentry to guard the believer's heart (a biblical symbol for the personality in which the mind resides) and the believer's thoughts from all anxiety and despair.

Title: Warren Wiersbes Be Series: NT

Author: Wiersbe, Warren W.

Paul does not write, "Pray about it!" He is too wise to do that. He uses three different words to describe "right praying": prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. "Right praying" involves all three. The word prayer is the general word for making requests known to the Lord. It carries the idea of adoration, devotion, and worship. Whenever we find ourselves worrying, our first action ought to be to get alone with God and worship Him. Adoration is what is needed. We must see the greatness and majesty of God! We must realize that He is big enough to solve our problems. Too often we rush into His presence and hastily tell Him our needs, when we ought to approach His throne calmly and in deepest reverence. The first step in "right praying" is adoration.

The second is supplication, an earnest sharing of our needs and problems. There is no place for halfhearted, insincere prayer! While we know we are not heard for our "much speaking" (Matt. 6:7-8), still we realize that our Father wants us to be earnest in our asking (Matt. 7:1-11). This is the way Jesus prayed in the Garden (Heb. 5:7), and while His closest disciples were sleeping, Jesus was sweating great drops of blood! Supplication is not a matter of carnal energy but of spiritual intensity (Rom. 15:30; Col. 4:12).

After adoration and supplication comes appreciation, giving thanks to God (see Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:15-17). Certainly the Father enjoys hearing His children say, "Thank You!" When Jesus healed ten lepers, only one of the ten returned to give thanks (Luke 17:11-19), and we wonder if the percentage is any higher today. We are eager to ask but slow to appreciate.

You will note that "right praying" is not something every Christian can do immediately, because "right praying" depends on the right kind of mind. This is why Paul's formula for peace is found at the end of Philippians and not at the beginning. If we have the single mind of Philippians 1 then we can give adoration. (How can a double-minded person ever praise God?) If we have the submissive mind of Philippians 2, we can come with supplication. (Would a person with a proud mind ask God for something?) If we have the spiritual mind of Philippians 3 we can show our appreciation. (A worldly minded person would not know that God had given him anything to appreciate!) In other words, we must practice Philippians 1, 2, and 3 if we are going to experience the secure mind of Philippians 4.

Paul counsels us to take "everything to God in prayer." "Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything!" is his admonition. We are prone to pray about the "big things" in life and forget to pray about the so-called "little things"--until they grow and become big things! Talking to God about everything that concerns us and Him is the first step toward victory over worry.

The result is that the "peace of God" guards the heart and the mind. You will remember that Paul was chained to a Roman soldier, guarded day and night. In like manner, "the peace of God" stands guard over the two areas that create worry--the heart (wrong feeling) and the mind (wrong thinking). When we give our hearts to Christ in salvation, we experience "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1); but the "peace of God" takes us a step farther into His blessings. This does not mean the absence of trials on the outside, but it does mean a quiet confidence within, regardless of circumstances, people, or things.

Daniel gives us a wonderful illustration of peace through prayer. When the king announced that none of his subjects was to pray to anyone except the king, Daniel went to his room, opened his windows, and prayed as before (Dan. 6:1- 10). Note how Daniel prayed. He "prayed, and gave thanks before his God" (Dan. 6:10) and he made supplication (Dan. 6:11). Prayer--supplication-- thanksgiving! And the result was perfect peace in the midst of difficulty! Daniel was able to spend the night with the lions in perfect peace, while the king in his palace could not sleep (Dan. 6:18).

The first condition for the secure mind and victory over worry is right praying.

 # The result of believing prayer is that the peace of God will stand like a sentinel on guard upon our hearts. The word that Paul uses (phrourein, GSN5432) is the military word for standing on guard. That peace of God, says Paul, as the Revised Standard Version has it, passes all understanding. That does not mean that the peace of God is such a mystery that man's mind cannot understand it, although that also is true. It means that the peace of God is so precious that man's mind, with all its skill and all its knowledge, can never produce it. It can never be of man's contriving; it is only of God's giving. The way to peace is in prayer to entrust ourselves and all whom we hold dear to the loving hands of God. Barclay

 4:7 peace of God. See note on v. 9. Inner calm or tranquillity is promised to the believer who has a thankful attitude based on unwavering confidence that God is able and willing to do what is best for His children (cf. Rom. 8:28). surpasses all understanding. This refers to the divine origin of peace. It transcends human intellect, analysis, and insight (Is. 26:3; John 16:33). guard. A military term meaning "to keep watch over." God's peace guards believers from anxiety, doubt, fear, and distress. hearts … minds. Paul was not making a distinction between the two--he was giving a comprehensive statement referring to the whole inner person. Because of the believer's union with Christ, He guards his inner being with His peace. John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.

 The "peace of God" (v. 7) which replaces anxiety in the life of the prayerful believer, is impossible to experience unless one already is at "peace with God" through faith in Christ (Rom. 5:1). But it is also beyond the ability of human understanding to fully comprehend how God's peace can "guard" (garrison) the "hearts" (emotions, personality) and "minds" (thoughts) of the anxiety-ridden people (v. 7). Apparently this is another beautiful and comforting instance of God's all-powerful, sovereign care for his obedient children (also 1:5-6, 9-11; 2:12-13) Elwell, Walter A., ed., Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company) 1989.

 And the peace of God. This is more than peace with God (Rom 5:1); it is a peace which God has and which Christ gives (Jn 14:27). The peace of God comes to a child of God who trusts and prays. All Christians have peace with God, and all Christians may have the peace of God, i.e., that inward tranquility of soul grounded in God's presence, God's promise, and God's power. One may have peace with God without having the peace of God. Peace with God is dependent upon faith, and peace of God is dependent upon prayer. Peace with God describes the state between God and the Christian, and the peace of God describes the condition within the Christian. Which passeth all understanding. Which surpasses all power of human reason or comprehension (Eph 3:20). The peace of God in the Christian will keep peace in the church. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isa 26:3). The Christian can put everything into God's hand and let the peace of God rule in his heart (Col 3:15). Shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Shall keep safely and continually, garrison, stand guard as an armed sentinel. Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.