Faithlife Sermons

Personal Peace for the New Year

Kevin Harris
The Keys to Personal Peace  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:25
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Introduction

Philippians 4:1-9
This really happened...
I received this message on Facebook from somebody very recently. Initially I thought it might be a scam but as I read it, I realized that the message was from somebody in our church who had been through a rather frightening experience.
The experience was not all that uncommon and deserves to be highlighted so that others do not go through the same thing needlessly. But also because it speaks perfectly to our message today.
Now let me add that this person will remain anonymous, because the incident was somewhat embarrassing.
But this could happen to any one of us who might be caught in the same situation.
Also let me add that this person has given me permission to share this story with you all...
I hesitated to tell anyone about this at first -- I felt so foolish! However, I'm afraid if I DON'T tell, others may be scammed. I received a phone call this week, allegedly from "the Cameron County Sheriff's Department" -- the man identified himself as a Lt. Prescott (although I'm sure that could change from victim to victim.)
I won't bore you with all the details, unless you want them, but he claimed I had outstanding fines to pay and if I did not pay them ASAP, that DAY, a bench warrant would be issued for my arrest.
I'm a law-abiding citizen, I didn't believe that I owed anyone any fines, but was always taught that you DON'T argue with a police officer. When you think you're talking to one, it's "yes sir" or "no sir."
I was instructed how to collect payment of several hundred dollars and bring it to an address in Harlingen.
IT WAS A COMPLETE SCAM, but they keep you on the phone the whole time, under pressure, under threat of imminent arrest, and they don't give you time to think rationally about what you're being asked to do.
Long story short, I did get the funds as they wanted, and did drive almost all the way to the address, before I convinced myself I was being scammed and had the courage to speak up to this "officer."
When I called this person's bluff, and his "supervisor" also, he admitted it. He smugly confessed that it was a scam, but said he'd successfully lured me away from my home, he was now inside my home with a gun, and would shoot my dog if I did not deliver the money. I called his bluff on that, too, and he hung up the phone.
I immediately called 911 and my home (where my kids were). I have been in touch with both the police in Harlingen and Los Fresnos/Bayview, and a police report has been filed. I did NOT give them any money, they were NOT in my house, we're all safe (including the dog.)
However, it's been a traumatic and humiliating experience. I only choose to share this with those of you in this area, NOT to all my FB contacts, in case these guys are still out there and might try this scam again.
They're calling from a # in South Texas -- Cameron County -- probably Harlingen. The police are aware of this. I was told that I'm not the first call they've had about this! However, I'm one of the few that did not hand over the $ or data they wanted. BEWARE!!!!
Please share with others, but anonymously please. I don't want the kids to have to answer any more questions about this. This is NOT an internet "joke" or "hoax" -- it happened to me right here in Bayview, TX since Christmas.
I'm doing OK, but I was VERY paranoid and suspicious of everyone for the first day or so, and didn't even want to leave my house for more than I had to. Your prayers would be appreciated, not just for my peace of mind, but for those others who have already been taken in by this fraud, and potential victims who might be targeted soon...
What a stressful and peace shattering moment to be stuck in Harlingen with these guys threatening your family and home.
Philippians 4:1–9

Think of Excellence

1 Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.

2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to alive in harmony in the Lord.

3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians
This section of Philippians shifts to a bit of houskeeping and internal business addressed warmly to dear friends and colleagues in the faith. In fact the section is addressed to:
ἀδελφόι - adelphoi - brothers
μου - mou - my
ἀγαπητόι - agapētoi - beloved
Therefore it could be translated “beloved brothers of mine” or more simply put “my beloved brothers”.
These are brothers and sisters who Paul trusted as some of his strongest supporters. They supported him in prayer and financially. He had also earned the right to offer them exhortation and encouragement in the face of difficult struggles. The letter to the Philippians is a very personal letter to those who had been through thick and thin with him.
Beginning in verse 2-9, Paul gathers together a list of attributes that Christians should pursue in order to obtain personal peace. This is something I think we can all learn from.

Seven Keys to Personal Peace

This is NOT a formula for world peace. And it certainly is not an exhaustive list, but this section does appear to address many of the elements necessary for a church body and its members to find peace and unity in the Lord.
Personal peace is more about a mental state of tranquility or wholeness. That is also to say not fractured in spirit or mental state.
We can't maintain peace within ourselves when any of these attributes are out of balance. Here’s a little peak at what we’ll be looking at over the next few weeks.
Harmony (with a little help) - unity
When we lack harmony in church, work, among friends… even with families and significant relationships, we grow disgruntled and peace becomes impossible.
Rejoice in the Lord - joy
When we fail to find our joy in the Lord but chase after our joy in any other thing, we undermine our spirit and begin to feed our flesh. This quenches the work of the spirit in us.
Be gentle - civility, courtesy, moderation
Gentleness is a hallmark characteristic of a Christian. Without gentleness, the Christian is almost indistinguishable from the world. A lack of gentleness allows for quarrels and discontent to fester and spring up like weeds.
Don’t worry - anxiety, depression, insecurity, stress, tension
Allowing worry to take root is like unlocking a door in the night to allow a thief to enter and steal your most valuable possession: peace.
Pray - prayer, petition, supplication
Nothing can be done without prayer. - E. M. Bounds
We do things without prayer all the time. What Bounds is saying is that we cannot accomplish something godly or important without praying about it.
EXTRA TRUTH Without prayer, we are not connected with God and cannot know what He wants for our lives.
Guard your heart and mind with focus
When we fail to guard our hearts and minds, by focusing on the good things that God has given us and taught us, we leave a foothold for the enemy to oppress and harry us with things that do not matter.
Practice Peace
Personal peace takes practice! It’s like playing a sport.
Fishing - without practice you’ll get skunked
Golf - without practice you’ll never have a good game
Football, Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, Hockey… EVERY sport requires practice.
Practice means you’ll fail a lot and you’ll learn from your failures only when you get back up and continue practicing.

I. Harmony (with a little help) - vv 2-3

Let’s jump back to Euodia and Syntyche for a moment...

2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to alive in harmony in the Lord.

3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

We don’t know what their issue was. But whatever it was, it was big enough that Paul had heard about it. And Paul felt it was important enough to offer some guidance to the entire church about Euodia and Syntyche’s beef.
Paul’s admonition to these ladies was that they learn to live in harmony with each other and in the Lord.
τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν ἐν κυρίῳ.
to auto phronein en kurio
to think the same in the Lord
When we look at this in the original Greek, it reads “to auto phronein en kurio” which literally means “to think the same in the Lord”.
Now think about that for a moment...
Paul says that the way to solve a conflict it for the two people to get of the same mind about something “in the Lord” or under the authority of the Lord.
Let’s look at some other examples.
Mark 9:50
Mark 9:50 NASB95
“Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Romans 15:5-6

5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,

6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:10

10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no cdivisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Colossians 3:14

14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is athe perfect bond of unity.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

12 But we request of you, brethren, that you aappreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction,

13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

Things that Disrupt Harmony

Jealousy
Lack of Control
We LOVE to be in control
We HATE to lose control
Disrespect
Change
Dysfunction
Poor communication
False expectations
Waiting for something expected or promised
Harmony Disrupted → Fight or Flight Response

What does fight or flight look like?

Fight - we sometimes look around decide to fight the cause of the disharmony.
Sometimes this is EXACTLY what is needed.
Sometimes this path leads to more disharmony.
Flight - if we think we cannot continue in disharmony and we cannot fight it, sometimes we will choose to flee the situation.
We often look for a way to justify our flight
I can't change anything
They don't like me
I'll never advance here
I need to get a new job
Occasionally we decide to…

To Take Matters Into Our Own Hands (DON’T DO IT)

This is usually closely relates to the Fight response
Oftentimes we know that Prov tells us…
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Prov 15:22-23
Prov 11:14
...the problem is that we go around looking for counsel that will tell us exactly what we want to hear. We look for a couple of knuckleheads…
How do you think Abraham wound up having Hagar’s baby? Genesis 16:2
God told Abraham that he would give him a son.
Abraham told Sarah and she laughed.
Nothing happened for a really long time.
Sarah's harmony was disrupted.
Sarah took matters into her own hands.
Sarah told Abraham, “go sleep with my servant Hagar.”
Abraham was like “Okay"

2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

And that's how we got Ishmael and the nation of Islam
Incomplete Principle there is wisdom in seeking a wide range of advice instead of relying on one's own knowledge.
Truth twenty foolish advisors are no better than one.

Bad Counsel in the Bible

Adam took Eve’s counsel - Genesis 3:17
The Hebrew children failed to take God’s counsel by taking something that they were told not to touch or take? - Joshua 9:14
King Saul asked for the counsel of a medium (and died for it) - 1 Chronicles 10: 13–14
King Ahaziah took counsel with the house of Ahab - 2 Chronicles 22:4
Investigate your situations from many angles.

1. Seek the Wisdom of the Lord

James 1:5 NASB95
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
“let him ask of God” what does that sound like?

2. Seek the Wisdom of Others who are in the Lord

3. Submit to Leadership

Let’s look back at Paul’s advice to the church at Philipi. He goes on to say that the leadership of the church should be involved in guiding these ladies to be of one mind about their conflict in the way and under the authority of the Lord and the local church.

3. Move Forward in Faith

2 Corinthians 5:7 NASB95
for we walk by faith, not by sight—

WRITE THESE DOWN

Scripture
Prayer
Bible
WISE Counsel
WAIT for agreement that God has a solution for you
TRUTH You will never recognize what God wants of you without these things.
BETTER PRINCIPLE The deeper that you are in God's word and the more you depend on prayer, and ensure that your WISE counsel does the same, the better your perspective will be when God's answer comes.

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