Philippians 4:7 - The Benefits of Solving Problems

Steve Viars December 16, 1995 Philippians 4:7

- Paul has speaking all through this book about the importance of
       unity, and the beauty of unity, and the joy and rejoicing that
       comes to an individual or a church that seeks to achieve unity
       God's way.

    - all of that comes to a head, so to speak, when Paul opens chapter
        four by naming the names of two ladies in the church that were
        not living in a way that contributed to the unity of their
        church.
    - Paul says - "I beseech Eudia, and I beseech Syntyche, that they be
        of the same mind in the Lord."

    - in other words -- these two ladies were to begin communicating
        biblically and to get these problems solved.

    - not only that, in verse 3, Paul enlists the help of another
        individual in the church, an unnamed man referred to in verse 3
        as "the true yokefellow"
          - and asks him to help these ladies iron out their difficulties

          - so he's saying, if a confrontation needs to take place, then
             that's what this man was to do
               - God wants unity in this church -- and every church...
                   - and unity comes through solving problems...


- in verse 4 -- they were to rejoice in the Lord always----and people who
   are solving problems biblically are able to do that.
- in verse 5, we're to let our moderation be known to all men...
    - "moderation", or leniency...
        - as we work together and solve problems...we're to be as lenient
          as possible (when clear matters of doctrine are at stake)

- then in verse 6, as we're seeking to get problems solved---instead of
   being anxious about the situation, and worrying about the problem...
     - we're to pray about it...
         - "In everything, by prayer, and supplication, with
             thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God."

- now, when you stop and think about it -- those six verses contain some
   commands that are very challenging to carry out.
     - and of course, this is the way we're to function in the church,
         but also in our homes -- following these same kind of
         principles...
- you look at those principles and say -- "That’s going to be tough"
   - those are not easy commands to follow...

- that’s true...
    - you may have had some things happen in your life this week where
      you saw just how tough it is to do what these verses are saying...

    1) It's a lot easier to cut someone off than to sit down and try to
        solve problems.
    2) It's a lot easier to be sarcastic or cutting than it is to be of
        the same mind in the Lord.
    3) It's a lot easier to let the problems of life get you down in the
        dumps than it is to "rejoice in the Lord always and again I say
        rejoice."
    4) It's a lot easier to worry than to "be anxious for nothing"
    5) It's a lot easier to fret than it is to pray with thanksgiving.

- these are not easy verses to obey in the nitty-gritty of life.

- But I believe I'm talking to the kind of people this morning who would
   say...."Yes, it may not be easy--but if that’s what God says -- I'm
   going to try to obey."
     - if that’s your heart this morning -- surely that’s pleasing to the
        Lord.

- but here's what the Lord is going to do for us in verse 7.
   - he's going to talk to us about one of the great benefits of obeying
     these verses.

- not because we only obey if we see the benefits.
   - what I said a moment before is true for many here this morning
   - we obey because Jesus Christ is our Lord...period.

   - but because He's such a kind Lord, He often gives us a "peek" at the
      benefits of obeying.
   - that’s what we're studying this morning:

       "The Benefits of Solving Problems God's Way"

- READ verse 7

- at this point -- let me give you a series of statements and ask you:
    - Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

    1) Philippians 4:7 is a well known verse of Scripture
        (Agree/Disagree).

    2) Philippians 4:7 is often found on wall plaques you buy at
        Christian bookstores (Agree/Disagree).

    3) Parts of Philippians 4:7 are often quoted by God's people in times
        of need (Agree/Disagree).

    4) Philippians 4:7 is always used in its context (Agree/Disagree).

- our goal this morning is to study this great verse of Scripture, but to
   study it in the context in which it is found.

  - we're going to ask five questions of this topic of biblical peace:
     1) Who needs biblical peace?
     2) What is Biblical peace?
     3) In whom is Biblical peace found?
     4) What are some false substitutes?
     5) What can/should Biblical Peace do for you?

- so - who needs it?
     - what is it?
     - where is it found?
     - what are its substitutes?
     - how will it affect you?


- let's begin with this:

I. Peace Is Needed Everywhere.

- one of the emphases of the Scripture is that practically everywhere you
   look, everything and everyone is in need of peace.

  - this topic ought to have universal appeal because there is universal
     need.
  - peace is needed everywhere...

  - for example, the created world needs peace.

    A. In this created world that has been tainted by sin

        - please turn to Romans 8 where we see a very picturesque
          description of how sin has affected the created world.

        - Read Rom. 8:18-22

        - the point is that we live in anything but a peaceful world.

            - in stark contrast to the conditions of the Garden of Eden,
              sin has scarred the world in which we live to a great
              degree.

            - one day in the millennial kingdom, the Scripture tells us
              that the lion will lay down with the lamb --- but that is
              hardly the case today.

            - the created world is groaning today and in need of peace.

    B. In our war-torn world.

        - Matthew 24:6 describes some of the conditions of the last days:

          "And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you be
           not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the
           end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and
           kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and
           pestilences, and earthquakes, in various places."

        - we live in a war-torn world that desperately needs peace.
        - regardless of what you think about our troops going to Bosnia,
          the fact is -- some of our service men and women will again be
          spending their Christmas away from their families in a place
          that has been ravaged by war....a place that is terribly in
          need of peace.

    C. Unbelievers who are enemies of God.

        - please turn over to Romans chapter 5

        - this is one of the most important passages in the Scripture on
           the subject of peace.

        - READ Rom. 5:1, 10

        - the Bible teaches us that men and women who don't know God
           cannot have peace...
             - at least they can't have biblical peace
             - they can't have lasting peace...

        - people who don't know God are His enemies
           - they desperately need peace

 

    D. Believers who have unconfessed sin

       - on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving we had a testimony
          service where men and women talked about the things for which
          they were thankful.
       - one of the issues that came up a number of times in that service
          was how thankful people were that God stands ready to forgive
          them when they sin.

       - all of us know what its like to sin against the Lord and
          experience His "Fatherly displeasure."
       - and while thankfully we can't lose our salvation, we surely
           experience the "feeling of guilt" because we stand in the
           state of guilt, or culpability.

       - in Psalm 38, David spoke about the effect of unconfessed sin in
           his life.

           - let's look over there quickly to see the different pictures
               he draws of the effects of unconfessed sin:

           - INPUT?

      - the point is -- you and I -- when we've sin, are in need of God's
          peace.

- the last category takes us back to the context we've been studying:

    E. Unsolved problems with people

        - all of us know about this category all too well

        - Eudia and Syntyche were fussing with each other
        - Paul tells them how to get those problems solved so that verse
           7 could be possible

             - "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding,
                shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ."

- now, that’s a whirlwind trip through that part of the discussion
   - there's a lot of other passages we could consider

   - an interesting one that ties several of these categories we've
      already mentioned together is James 4:1-3
      - "From where comes wars and fightings among you?  Come they not
         here, even of the lusts that war in your members?  ......
         You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the
         friendship of the world is enmity with God?"

- so the overall point we're making is surely true -- Peace is need
   everywhere.

- when Paul talks about the peace of God which passes all understanding
   guarding your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus...
     - he's talking about a commodity that’s extremely PRECIOUS, and
         extremely RARE.

there ought to be universal appeal because there is universal need.

- now, let's add another idea to our study:

II. God Wants You To Have Peace

- let me ask you to turn back to the Old Testament this morning to a
   great verse on this subject - Numbers 6:24-26.
- READ

  - I think you'll agree with me that that's a wonderful passage of
      Scripture

     1) God does not want us to be in turmoil
     2) He doesn't want us to be in despair
     3) He doesn't want us to be at war with Him or others
     4) He doesn't want us to be hopeless...

     - God wants us to have peace.

- but that brings up a very obvious question, doesn't it?
   - What is peace?

   - What is this thing that God wants us to have?

      - If God wants me to have it, I need to know what it is ---
          - in order to know whether I have it or not.

A. An initial caution

   - right off the bat, we need to give a caution about attempting to
      define this great benefit of knowing God.

   - Remember what Phil. 4:7 said - "And the peace of God, which WHAT?"
       - which passes all understanding.

   - what does that mean?  (there are some things about our relationship
       with the Lord that are difficult to FULLY DEFINE)

- Paul says the same kind of thing about God's love in Eph. 3:19 - he
   talks about the love of Christ, which passes knowledge.

- so with that disclaimer in mind, let's work at defining peace:

B. Various definitions

    1. Dictionary of New Testament Theology

        a. the antithesis of war
        b. a condition resulting from the cessation of war
        c. state of law and order that gives rise to the blessings of
           prosperity.

(less technical and more picturesque)

    2. William Hendricksen

        "Peace is the smile of God reflected in the soul of the believer.
         It is the heart's calm after Calvary's storm.  It is the firm
         conviction that He who spared not His own Son will surely also,
         along with Him, freely give us all things (Rom. 8:32). `Thou
         wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee,
         because he trusts in thee' (Isa. 26:3)."

    3. Jay Adams


        "A joyous sense of well-being that views all things as good.  In
         it is a sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing one is
         right with God in Christ."


- now, let's look at this concept from a slightly different angle.
   INPUT - What does a person who has God's peace look like?
           (Characteristics of a person who possesses God's peace?)


- now, there's a very important question that flows out of all of this:
   - Do you possess God's peace?

   - If we were going to evaluate your life on this one issue this
      morning...
        - if we were going to pull out the dipstick that measures the
          level of your peace...what would we learn?

- so far we've talked about where peace is needed, and what peace is...
- let's take one more step and say that:

III. Peace Is Available In and Through Christ Jesus

    - the last words in Phil. 4:7 are very important

    - "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep
        your hearts and minds THROUGH CHRIST JESUS."

    - all through this book -- Paul has been placing emphasis on the
       Person and work of our savior and Lord.
    - INPUT - what are some ways in which that is true?  (What are some
         examples of how Paul has emphasized the Person and Work of
         Christ in the previous verses?)

    - William Hendricksen said this:

       "The man of trust and prayer has entered that impregnable citadel
        from which no one can dislodge him, and the name of that fortress
        is Christ Jesus."

    1) People who choose to know Christ

    2) People who choose to love Christ

    3) People who choose to obey the words of Christ...

        - are promised ... the Peace of God IN CHRIST JESUS.

    - that’s why, of all of the many wonderful names the Lord has chosen
       for Himself, one of the ones we love the most is "The God of
       peace."

      - like Paul said in I Thes. 5:23 - "And the very God of Peace
        sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul
        and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus
        Christ."

     - this has real meaning for us at Christmas Time, doesn't it:

        - Isaiah prophesied 700 years before Christ's birth said:
           - "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and
              the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His shall be
              called:
                 - Wonderful counselor
                 - the Mighty God
                 - the Everlasting Father
                 - and THE PRINCE of PEACE


- yes, peace is needed everywhere you look
- peace is a commodity that is precious and rare
  - and that peace can be found in knowing, and loving, and obeying Jesus
      Christ.


- let's think now about how we should let these truths affect us:

    - INPUT - Because God is the God of peace, I should ___________.


(John Street)

IV. Avoid Wrong Substitutes

    A. Careless apathy

        - some folks might conclude they have God's peace when in fact
            they are just apathetic.
        - in Ephesians 4;19, the Gentiles are described as people who
            were "past feeling."

        - they didn't care about anything

        - that’s surely not God's peace

    B. Contentment without communion

        - some folks try to find their peace in "things"

        - and material things will satisfy for a time, if a person wants
           to live on that level.

        - but that’s not biblical peace

        - Paul said in I Tim. 6 - GODLINESS with contentment is great
            gain.

        - to try to find contentment apart from a growing relationship
            with the Lord won't satisfy in the hard times---thats not
            biblical peace.

    C. Confidence without conviction

         - I have peace about "such and such"

             - we need to ask -- does this passage have anything to do
                with decision making?

             - cf. Col. 3:15 - Let the peace of God rule in your hearts

             - some folks have "peace" because they decided to do exactly
                what their flesh wanted them to do in the first place.

             - (biblical peace comes only through following biblical
                  principles -- there is no shortcut)

         (develop - if a person has no "peace" in midst of a decision --
            may indicate a number of different things
              - maybe they're not following biblical principles
                  - emotions are serving as a warning system
              - maybe they are following biblical principles but they
                  don't like it
                    - emotions need to be ignored

 

    D. Conformity turned outward

       - at peace with a person they shouldn't be at peace with

       - I'll conform (even if it means marring my testimony) just so I
           can be at peace with everybody


    E. Conflicts turned inward

        - refusal to handle problems God's way  (cf. Phil. 4:1-3)

        - plastic smile on the outside -- seething on the inside
             - cf. James 3:14


- let's complete our time today by saying:

V. Let Peace Guard Your Heart and Mind

    - I think we would miss an important point from the verse if we
        didn't at least mention what Phil. 4:7 says the peace of God can
        do.

    - the passage says, it keeps us, it guards us.

       - it's important to remember where Paul was when he was writing.

    - who was guarding Paul?  (a soldier)
        - in the ultimate sense?  (the peace of God)

    - even when things seem terribly out of control
    - even when things are going far different than you and I would have
        liked -- those in right relationship with God can be ruled by His
        peace.

    - Is this just a pipe dream?
        - cf. Daniel - sleeping in the lion's den.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video