Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost (October 15, 2017)
- First reading and Psalm
- Alternate First reading and Psalm
- Second reading
Philippians 4:1-9 | New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.
2 Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3 And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.
4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
This has been a very quick trip through Philippians and today is our last reading from Philippians. I really want us to concentrate on the last four verses of this reading. Paul writes, “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything…tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done.” As I quote that, I feel like I am pointing three fingers back at myself. Why is it so hard to obey God’s words? I mean, it seems so simple – don’t worry and instead of worrying pray. What’s prayer? telling God what we need and thanking him for what he has done. And yet, we (I) struggle with this – day after day.
People often think the teachings of Paul and the teachings of Jesus are so far off, but are they really. I would encourage you to check out chapter 6 of Matthew. It is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Rather than cut a whole bunch, I’ll copy the last two verses: Matthew 6:33-34:
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
It seems Christians would learn (and like I said, I’m just as guilty) and submit themselves to the Lord and pray. Why do we worry about such things, when all we really need to do is pray?
Several weeks ago, I preached on the Fruit of the Spirit. One of the characteristics of the Spirit is peace. Paul tells us if we want to have true peace – the peace that passes all understanding, we must submit our worry to God. If we pray to him…tell Him what we need…thank Him for what He has done, then we will have true peace. After all, who wouldn’t want that.
In addition to praying, Paul also offers another solution. He says, think on these things. In many ways, these things are similar to the Fruit of the Spirit. What are these things?
what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable…things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
There is an old children’s song that says, “O be careful little eyes what you see….” Imagine if…in addition to prayer…believers (Christians) would think on the above. I think that we would see a radical change in the direction of the church. We spend way too much time on the opposite. Yes, when it appears the world is literally falling apart, we think we need to focus on the opposite. But the God of peace comes when we think on the things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise.
If you have worry, I encourage you to take Paul’s advice…Paul’s solution:
- Don’t worry
- Think on what is right and true
- Obey God’s Word.
If we do these, we will have God’s peace.