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Mar 15, 2020

Panic vs. Peace

Panic vs. Peace

Speaker: James Gallaher

Category: Sunday Morning

How do we have peace in difficult times? John 14:27

We have all been afraid of something during our lives. Regardless of who we are, there will be times where our concerns consume our thoughts whether it is based on truth or not. There is a general anxiousness in our world due to the coronavirus or fears related to that. We don't have the ability to control it so it causes anxiousness. No matter what our position is, our God remains on the throne and in control. He holds all things in His hands, and we serve a mighty God.

Yet, we still might experience anxiousness. What should our response as a church be? Defiance or compassion? Jesus interacts with compassion. He doesn't minimize our pain. He says to bring our concerns to Him.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you; do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 

How do we have peace in difficult times? Jesus says peace is a gift, not to be earned. The good news is that peace is available to anyone wanting to receive it. Easier said than done - so how do we gain this sense of peace - the promise of peace? Part of receiving peace is that we determine to receive it. We cannot possess what we are unwilling to take possession of. 

Much of the greatest writings of Paul are while he was in prison and isolation (quarantine). God speaks compassion and movement in those times. Could this day be an orchestration of God wanting to speak to us? An opportunity to hear from God? 

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 4:8-9 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. 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.

Paul uses this time to instruct the church on anxiousness.

1) SURRENDER OUR BURDENS. 

Verse 6 - Let your requests be known to God. Have you taken your anxiousness and thrown it at God's feet? Empty your heart before God. 

I Peter 5:7 Casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Only one true place to go with our anxieties that we will truly experience the care that we need. 

...by prayer and supplication. It's not about using lots of words, but transferring the whole burden, not just part of it - regardless of how big or little it is. No matter how big or little we think our burden is, it's little to God. Transfer the entire burden and then we can experience peace. Peace and burden can't cohabitate. Give it ALL to Him. 

...with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving changes our attitude and demeanor. The gratitude doesn't have to be about the situation, but a gratefulness of being able to come to Him. 

2) RENEW OUR MINDS.

Verse 8-9 is what we replace anxious thoughts with. There is always something good to think about - dwell on these things. A tug of war can happen in our minds about good and bad things (doubleminded). We are constantly processing and being pulled. James 1:5-8 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. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Being pulled in too many directions is a two-sided man. 

The real truth is found in the Bible - knowing Who you can count on is found in God's Word. Paul says push the worry and anxiety aside with healthier thoughts. 

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. The human mind will always set itself on something. Paul wanted the Philippians to set their minds on the right things. Satan's primary form of weakening the body of Christ is through the mind of the believer. (Eve was first). Guard your heart and your mind and do so by focusing on the truth. God's Word is the antidote to the fear and anxiety that we will face.

These two instructions from Paul of surrendering our burdens in prayer and supplication and renewing our minds give promise of receiving peace. The key to having that peace is found in Philippians 4:5 The Lord is near. Paul is saying that ultimately all that you could desire is found in the person of Jesus - His presence - our constant companion. We can do all the right things, say all the right things, be in all the right places and if we do not have a relationship with the Father, we'll never experience the blessings and the promises of the Father. Paul is saying empty our hearts (prayer) and think on true things (meditate in our mind) and then peace will come to our heart and mind. 

What distinguishes the church from the world is not what is on the outside, it is about who resides on the inside. Let's look to serve those that God puts in our lives. Esther 4:14 ...And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this? 

To have the peace of God: Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Prayer for salvation:

Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I believe that on that cross You took my guilt, my sin, and my shame and You died for it. You faced hell for me, so I wouldn't have to. And You rose again to give me a place in Heaven, a purpose on Earth, and a relationship with Your Father. Today, Lord Jesus, I turn from my sins to be born again. And now, God is my father, Jesus is my Savior, The Holy Spirit is my helper. And Heaven is my home. Amen.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks of this virus, whether it expands or just passes away, it will not change God's position. God remains on the throne. God still desires us. He will never leave or forsake us.


What will your response be to this current struggle in the world? 

Do you possess the peace of God? How does He help you with this time of the world's uncertainty? 

What ways can we gain God's peace?