Sept 16, 2018 – Peace
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Grace, Peace, Glory, Joy
Philippians 1:1-11 (ESV)
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
The God of peace (Phil 4:9) brings peace in prayer (Phil 4:6-7) that restores, renews and brings rest.
- v2 “peace from God…”
- vv3-4 prayer evidences he is “right” with God
- v9 “it is my prayer that your love may abound… with knowledge and all discernment”
- v7 “it is right for me to feel this way…” v8 “with the affection of Christ”
- v6 “I am sure of this…” v9 “it is my prayer…”
- The dynamic working of grace challenges us to trust a generous God.
Questions for Reflection
- What sort of peace do you long for? What change in your life or in the world would bring you satisfaction?
- Are you at peace with God? What is the basis for that peace? How does Jesus restore the relationship between God and human beings?
- How can your prayer life have a deepening sense that you are self consciously with God when you are praying? What changes in attitude or perspective would help you pray as one in the presence of a living God, who hears and cares?
- How can prayer renew you? What can you do in prayer to process your life, your feelings, your experiences, to seek the healing of the Spirit and the renewal of your mind? How can prayer be a means of receiving God’s love, and of instilling the “affection of Christ” (Phil 1:8) in you?
- Is there anyone in your life for whom your anger or resentment is keeping you from seeing them as a human being? In what ways do you treat people as objects in your life? What steps can you take to soften your heart towards others?
- What does it look like to pray with faith? How do you cast your cares upon God so that you don’t remain anxious without ignoring the things you are responsible to do? How can you rest in God even if things you have prayed about are not unfolding as you hoped?
- In what ways are Christians called to follow the pattern of Christ in bringing peace through personal sacrifice? What pitfalls should we avoid in adopting an attitude of sacrifice?
- Read Psalm 120, a Psalm that was sung when going up to Jerusalem (Jerusalem is sometimes translated as “city of peace”). What can you learn from this Psalm about the human experience, about challenges to being a person of peace, about prayer as a way of grappling with our struggles?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father, the God of peace, we recognize that our longing for peace is deeper than our experience of peace. We acknowledge how frequently we let our selfish agendas turn human beings into objects in our lives, and how we are guilty of idolatry when we treat you as an object in our lives. Our lack of love has contributed to a lack of peace. Father, restore us. Forgive us through Christ, who came to make peace, and renew love in us so that the peace that surpasses understanding would guard our hearts and minds. Amen.