Saturday, August 19, 2017

THE PEACE OF GOD KEEPING OUR HEARTS AND MINDS

The peace of God keeping our hearts and minds

Did you ever have someone a little more spiritual than you say, "Stay strong in the Lord?" Paul did but he also urged them once again to be unified in Jesus Christ. That second point has come up many times in the book of Philippians. Today if you will notice many Christians pride themselves in being divided from their brothers and sisters but this misses the point completely. I want to quote nine verses straight because these are some of the most popular verses in the Bible.
 
(1) "Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. (2) I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. (3) And I entreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlaborers, whose names are in the book of life. (4) Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. (5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) 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. (9) 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." Philippians 4:1-9.
 
Paul starts out by using the word steadfast and we are to be strong in our Christian profession. In the previous article I wrote about our conversation being holy as we look for the return of the Lord all the while occupying until He comes with the right motive in serving Him.
 
Two times in verse one Paul expresses love for them (1) Dearly beloved (2) My dearly beloved. There is something about true authentic love that people sense and can not argue against but blind individuals may fight against Godly affection. Paul is exhorting them in the form of encouragement. The love of Paul involved longing, rejoicing and glorying in them because he had a huge heart with them in spirit. Paul talked about living in Christ but to do that we have to stand fast in the Lord. To do this we have to rely on His strength through the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit but the one thing we do not want to do is depend on our own strength. If you find yourself falling into this trap just talk to the Lord about the whole issue. God is not going to withhold wisdom from a sincere child.
 
Paul mentions two individuals because they either differed with each other or had their own opinions regarding church policy. The longing of Paul was for them to walk in peace, live in love and in general be of the same mind with the rest of the church. We have to remember the Philippian church was by and large a good sincere body of believers. I have seen many church splits in my lifetime and many broken hearts become shattered and some Christians take years to get over the pain. Others hold the hurt inside of them and take it out on other Christians. Wise Christians will give their burden to God and just be there for their brothers and sisters. Paul did not desire division for this fellowship.
 
Paul then calls out the "Yoke fellow" to help the ladies who helped him. The reason why he singled this person out is because he was the one person that had both a Godly bond with Paul and the women. He was the perfect middle man for this job. It is a privilege to receive an assignment from God. These ladies helped so now it was their turn to receive assistance. If we truly do something for the Lord in one way or another this will come back to us in a good way. 
 
In verse four Paul says to rejoice in the Lord two times. Our joy does end in Jesus Christ but to get there our thoughts must be holy. Actually we are suppose to rejoice in God through every one of our circumstances. We may say that is a lot to ask but this is what the Bible teaches.
 
In verse five Paul talks about letting our moderation be known to all men. This is another way of saying be gentle and controlled to your brothers and sisters in Christ. This is something that I don't see as much as I thought I would observe in Christian fellowships but it is just something to think about regarding our relationship with other Christians. Sometimes when dealing with each other we are not very charitably or don't want to give the benefit of the doubt but if we are not generous in spirit don't you think something is missing? The Philippian church seemed to be very patient for the most part in their fellowship with each other so when Paul says ..."The Lord is at hand" the inference could mean that if they have any enemies because of their goodness in the Lord, God will take vengeance on them but I will leave that open for interpretation.
 
At this point Paul really wants the believers in Jesus Christ to be in constant prayer. In verse six Paul is saying that we should pray about everything. Remember we can not hid anything from God so we need to pray about the sensitive private aspects of our life or maybe I should say especially those areas because that is where we stumble. This is how it works --- our spirit gets burdened but our minds get put at ease through prayer. The Bible in other passages uses verbs like perplexed and distressed (2 Corinthians 4:8) but that just proves we need direction and support.
 
Paul then urges us to throw in thanksgiving with our supplications. In essence when we pray about the bad in our life we are seeking a supply of good; however, God is also saying our part is not only to intercede but have a grateful heart. Once again we see our responsibility but with the promise of God to deliver us in His way and His timing. Prayer is us offering up but our desires become known on the other side (the answer). We are to let our requests be known to God with a sincere heart then we will feel the effect of the peace of God keeping our hearts.
 
This is a true story about my grandmother. She used to go to church every Sunday. She did not know the Lord. At the time my grandmother had no concept of what true salvation in Jesus Christ meant but my Mom decided to bring a very Godly man to tell her the true message of salvation through Jesus Christ. I was there in the other room and I heard him explain that the true gospel is about a relationship with Jesus Christ. There was some resistance but after a while she inquired about the subject of peace. He directed her to Philippians chapter four and she read this passage every night before sleeping. My grandmother read those verses so many times that the truth of the reality of the peace of God became real to her and as a result she got saved through Jesus Christ right before passing away in this case to be with the Lord. Remember the Bible says, "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." 2 Corinthians 4:4. Jesus Christ revealed His glorious light to my grandmother in her blindness through this very popular passage in the Bible.
 
Perhaps you feel that your mind has been blinded to the truth of the glorious gospel of Christ and desire to come to know the Lord. When anyone accepts Jesus Christ into their hearts as Savior and Lord by repenting of all sins the Son of the Living God comes into the life of that person. If you just made that decision read the rest of this article because Paul has some very positive truths for us to pursue for our good.
 
This peace of God which passeth all understanding will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. If we are having problems with a particular sin the peace of God will be strong enough to abstain because the power of the Holy Spirit is working through our hearts; therefore, it would only be wise to pursue this biblical truth.
 
In verse eight Paul says to seek after things that are true and honest because he wants us to have a good name in Jesus Christ. Believing truth and our behavior go hand in hand because if it is just, pure, lovely and of good report with no additives of sin then people will see God in our life. If we see virtue or praise then chime in because we will be glorifying God. In verse nine Paul says, "Those things which you have learned, and received, and heard and seen in me, do." He knew they would remember this and as a result recall seeing Jesus Christ work through Paul so he threw that in at the end just to give them encouragement through example.
 
God Bless you,
Bob D.
 

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