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God Pleads for Our Peace
Philippians 4:1-3
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Sept. 30, 2012
*Sometimes I think back to the church I attended in my teen years.
That church had a terrible split when I was about 16.
How bad was it?
-- So bad that they went to court.
And they fought that case all the way to the Supreme Court.
*Many of those church people, including my parents, were badly hurt by that nonsense.
And that was all it took for me to decide that the church was a bunch of phony baloney.
I was as lost as could be at the time.
And it was 8 years before I started going back to church in a regular way.
*What happened to that church?
-- Christians started treating other Christians in an unchristlike way, and the church nearly died.
The church went down for the next 40 years, until the last handful came to their senses, got the help they needed, and God turned the situation around.
*God wants Christians to live in harmony.
He wants all of us to have His peace.
And here God’s Word makes 3 pleas for peace.
First, God pleads for us to stand firm in our faith.
*This plea has to do with our most important peace, and that is our peace with God.
So in vs. 1, the Apostle Paul said this to the church: “Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.”
*Paul was speaking here to people he dearly loved.
And he expressed this love four different ways.
Paul told them:
-“You are my beloved.”
-“I long to be with you.”
-“You are my joy.”
-“You are my crown.”
*And as Paul thought about the disagreement that was going on in their church, what was the first thing he said to these Christians he loved so much?
-- “Stand fast (or stand firm) in the Lord.”
*Christians, God wants us to stand firm in our faith.
What does this have to do with peace in the church?
-- Everything, because all real peace comes from God.
And the most urgent peace is peace with God.
*The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ can give us peace with God.
-As Paul tells Christians in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
*Jesus Christ is the ultimate peacemaker.
*It’s hard to believe, But Christmas is just around the corner, and one of the things we celebrate at Christmas is the Lord’s peace.
So 700 years before the Lord was born, God gave this prophecy through Isaiah:
-“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of PEACE.
(Isaiah 9:6)
*And when the Lord was born, an angel brought the good news to the shepherds, and Luke 2 tells us:
13. . .
Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE, good will toward men.
*Jesus Christ is the ultimate peacemaker.
And He made this peace for us through His death on the cross.
There Jesus took all of the pain and punishment that belonged to us.
He took all of the wrath that we deserved for our sins.
And now the Risen Savior offers everlasting peace to everyone who will trust in Him.
*Through the cross of Jesus Christ, we can have peace with God.
-And we can have God’s peace in our hearts.
*Ralph Turnbull told about a friend who went to visit an elderly Christian lady.
She was badly crippled by arthritis.
It almost hurt to look at her twisted hands.
And he asked her: “Do you suffer much?”
*She pointed to her hand and said, “Yes, but there is no nail here.
He had the nails.
I have the peace.”
Then, she pointed to her head and said, “There are no thorns here.
He had the thorns.
I have the peace.”
*God wants us to have peace in our hearts, peace with one another, and most of all, peace with Him.
So through the Apostle Paul in vs. 1, God pleads with us to stand firm in our faith.
2. God’s second plea is this: Attempt to agree in the Lord.
*Make every effort to agree in the Lord.
This was Paul’s passionate message to us in vs. 2, where he said: “I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.”
*The KJV says “I beseech” or “beg.”
The NIV says “I plead.”
God’s Word says, “I implore, beseech, beg, plead with you to agree with each other in the Lord.”
*Euodia and Syntyche were having a disagreement, just like we have sometimes with our family members, our friends, at school, at work, and even at church.
*The truth is that we are not always going to agree with each other.
And this may seem like stating the obvious, but sometimes church members, especially new Christians, get the false impression that we are going to be in lock-step agreement about everything.
And that’s just not so.
So, what should we do when we have a disagreement in the church?
[1] First: Don’t get a superiority complex about your opinions.
*Nobody is right all the time.
And if you think you are, you will be tempted to think that the people who don’t agree with you are “the bad guys.”
*Of course, sometimes they are the bad guys.
But sometimes we’ve got it wrong.
And sometimes it doesn’t matter either way.
*Who was “the bad guy” in vs. 2? -- God’s Word doesn’t say.
Was it Euodia?
-- The fuss could have been Euodia’s fault, but her name meant “Prosperous Journey,” and I am sure she was a wonderful woman.
Syntyche’s name meant “Pleasant Acquaintance,” and I am sure she was a wonderful person, too.
*Both of these women were saved.
Both of them had worked together with Paul to spread the Good News about Jesus.
So both of these women were dear, sweet, Godly women.
But if we fall into the trap of thinking we are right about everything, we tend to think that the people who don’t agree are “the bad guys.”
*Ron Lee Davis told about a time years ago when he was counseling with a couple who were having problems in their marriage.
One day, the wife was talking with Ron about some differences of opinion she had with her husband.
These disagreements were causing severe tensions in their relationship.
*Ron asked the lady to sum up the conflict as she saw it.
And with all seriousness she said, “Whenever we have an argument, my husband goes his way, and I go God’s way.” (2)
*She was absolutely convinced that her way was God’s way all the time, even in things that had nothing to do with the Word of God.
And if we think we are right about everything, well, the other people must be wrong.
They become “the bad guys.”
*Another danger of thinking we are right all the time is that we can blow problems way out of proportion.
We will tend to make mountains out of molehills, and fuss and fight over the least little things.
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