The Cure for Worry
Tim Temple

Introduction

Our passage is Philippians, chapter 4, verses 6-9:

Philippians 4

6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8Finally, 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.
9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

God's own explanation of the purpose of Scripture is that the man of God may be mature, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, as He states in II Timothy, chapter 3, verse 17. Therefore God's design is that the Bible be above all else practical for life. Now, there are other aspects of the Scripture. Obviously all that we know about God and His holiness and His glory is revealed to us in the Scripture, and we could not properly worship God if we did not have the Scripture; but above all else, in addition to all the other purposes of Scripture, God intended this Book be a usable, practical Book.

The passage before us is perhaps one of the most practical in all of Scripture. Worry is a common problem of life. Each of us know what it is to worry, to toss and turn, and not be able to sleep, to fret and not be able to concentrate on the situation before us because of something we're worried and concerned about.

We have already been talking about the subject of worry, as we looked at the first part of chapter 4. In this letter as a whole, Paul has touched on the three basic causes of worry. We have pointed out that in this letter the Apostle Paul has talked about people and he has talked about circumstances and he has talked about material things. If we were to make an analysis of it, we would find that these are the three basic things around which worry revolves. There may be ramifications of each of these that would cause worry, but basically it boils down to one of these three things or a combination of these three things that anyone is ever worried about. Any worry that we have would involve one or more of these three things.

Paul has been saying in this Philippian letter how God has given him personal victory over each of these three things. We talked about that in our last lesson, and so we won't take time to review it in detail, but he has pointed out how God has given him personally victory over people, circumstances, or material things. One of the unique aspects of the book of Philippians is that Paul, in writing this personal letter to his friends, is saying, “God has done this for me, and He can do it for you also.” He is saying, “Follow my example.”

As we have pointed out before, this is not egotistical because the Holy Spirit has inspired Paul to write these things. So in this last chapter, Paul is giving this same basic information about victory over worry in capsule form. As we pointed out last week, Paul had talked about victory over circumstances in chapter 1, victory over worries caused by people in chapter 2, victory over worry caused by material things in chapter 3. In those passages, he was talking about how God had given him victory over those things, but now in chapter 4, he tells the Philippians how they can have victory over these three things.

In verses 1-5, he talks about how God can give victory over disagreements and conflicts with other people. We talked about those principles in our last lesson–what we can do when another person just bugs us to death, what we can do about conflicts with people. In verses 10-13, he is going to be talking about victory over circumstances. In verses 14-19, he is going to be talking about victory over material things. Now, if you are noticing carefully, you will see that with the exception of the last few verses, which contain the conclusion of the letter, the verses that are not touched on in this little outline, are the verses which are before us tonight, verses 6-9.

Your first reaction may be, “There is no point in talking about these verses; we might as well just move on.” But we are not going to do that because verses 6-9 are very important in that they tie in with all three of these situations. So what Paul is doing is giving us three specific situations; and sandwiched in between those situations, in verses 6-9, he is also giving us some extremely practical principles that apply to all three causes of worry. This is what we want to think about now.

We have said that the answer to the problem of worry also is presented in four aspects in this chapter. We have divided the chapter into four parts, and each of these is another of the aspects of victory over worry.

First, in verses 1-5, Paul says we do not need to worry because we have God's presence with us. We do not need to worry about conflicts with people because we have God's presence with us in the assembly, in the Body of Christ, in our relationships with other people. Then in verses 6-9, he is going to say, as we are going to see in this lesson, that we do not need to worry about things, because there is a formula by which God's peace can be made available in spite of the worries. Then in verses 10-13, he talks about God's power and why should we worry if we really have God's power available to us. That is the basic point of those verses. Then in verses 14-23 we have God's provision. We don't need to worry because God provides for us. You can see the problems with people, the problems with circumstances, and the problems with material things. God's answer is fourfold.

We want to talk about God's peace in this lesson and, the Lord willing, next week we will talk about the last two sections of the chapter, God's power and God's provision.

Requirements for Peace

Open your Bibles, please, to Philippians, chapter 4, verse 6, as we think together about God's peace. The first thing we want to notice, in verses 6 and 7, is the requirements for peace.

Philippians 4

6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

In verse 7, we have that very familiar and wonderful promise:

Philippians 4

7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

We often talk about the peace that passeth understanding. That is a phrase that we often quote, a verse that we often quote. The thing that we need to notice very carefully is that as wonderful as that promise is, verse 6 tells us that there are some requirements to be met before that peace can be ours.

I want you to think carefully with me, because I would not want to be accused of taking away from the grace of God. As we will see before we are through, the peace that passeth understanding is purely a gift from God. It is not something we can earn, certainly not something we deserve.

So, when we say that there are requirements for peace, we're not at all implying that it's anything that we must earn, but there are some things that must be true before we can realize that peace in our lives. Verse 6 gives us those requirements for peace.

However, in order to be completly thorough in our study of the subject of peace, we also need to recognize that there is even a more basic requirement for peace than that which is listed here in verse 6. Keep a marker here in Philippians, chapter 4, and turn with me to the book of Romans, chapter 5, because the Scripture tells us that there are two categories of peace.

Peace With God

First, in Romans, chapter 5, is the subject of peace with God. Romans, chapter 5, verse 1, talks about having peace with God, and I want to say that before we can have the peace of God that Paul is talking about in Philippians, chapter 4, we must first have peace with God. Romans, chapter 5, verse 1, says:

Romans 5

1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

I am sure that what we are saying at this point is review for most of you, but we make no apology for review, because it is very important that we understand this subject thoroughly and clearly. The first requirement for peace is that which is mentioned here in Romans, chapter 5, verse 1. Notice first the word “peace.”

Romans 5

1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God…

The word “peace” in Romans, chapter 5, verse 1, and in most other places in the New Testament, is a translation of the Greek word eirene , which is a word which means “cessation of hostilities.”

Romans 5

1Therefore being justified by faith, [we no longer have hostilities toward God. We are no longer enemies of God]

Someone hearing that statement, based on the use of that Greek word, would say, “Well now, wait a minute. Before I was a Christian I didn't know about God. I wasn't very well informed about Him, but I know that I was not His enemy. I didn't hate Him. I was not at war with Him.” Well, we need to be careful as we think about this cessation of hostilities because there are people who are hostile against God, and there are people who before they were Christians would tell you that they were belligerent and rebellious against God. Even though those people are few in number and even though that is not true of every person who is not a believer in Jesus Christ, it is true that every unsaved person has a feeling of uneasiness about God.

Unbeliever's Hostility Toward God

You may have been saved at an age late enough in life to remember what life was like before that. Many of us were saved when we were young children, and so we know that we are sinners by nature and that we had committed a number of sins because our parents have told us so. Probably all of us know some famous stories about what we did before we were saved, and even after we were saved, for that matter, about our sin nature. But many of you were saved later in life and you can remember what it was like. If you can't remember it, as I say, you have probably heard from your parents or somebody that there is a tension between God and man, maybe not open rebellion and enmity, but a basic uneasiness about God.

Have you ever noticed how little unbelievers like to talk about God? They would just rather not discuss that subject at all. They may cloak that lack of desire in the guise of not wanting to seem pious or thinking that that is something too philosophical to talk about, but on the whole, the unsaved simply would rather not talk about God. That is because there is a basic, underlying feeling of guilt. There is a basic, underlying tension. The Scripture tells us in Romans, chapter 1, that every person knows that there is a God; but the sin nature causes us to hold down the truth in unrighteousness, and we do not acknowledge God, and we do not recognize Him as God, until the Holy Spirit of God breaks through to us and draws us to Himself. So those who have not been drawn to Jesus Christ, those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior, have a basic hostility toward God, even though it may not be hostility in the general sense that we use that term today.

Salvation Required for Peace With God

That is why Paul writes in Romans, chapter 5, verse 1, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” We have a cease fire with God; we have a cessation of hostilities. This is accomplished by salvation. We no longer feel guilty. We no longer hesitate to talk about God. We no longer are nervous or anxious when someone wants to talk about the subject of God, because we are at ease in His presence. We know that our sins have been paid for and even though we did not pay for them, even though we never could pay for them, Jesus Christ did. God the Father looks at us as righteous, so there is nothing between us and God. There is an ease there. There is a peace there because of what Jesus Christ did. That is brought out here in verse 1. Notice:

Romans 5

1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

So, a very specific statement that acceptance of the Gospel–salvation through faith in Christ–brings peace with God. And this is the only way that peace with God can be achieved. No amount of talking about God, no amount of getting up our courage and our philosophical wits and forcing ourselves to talk about God, as some have done, would ever bring about that peace that simple faith in Christ has brought about.

There is much more we could say about Romans, chapter 5, verse 1, but the basic point that we want to make here is that the first requirement for peace with God and for the peace of God is the requirement of salvation. Once a person has peace with God, he can know the peace of God that Paul is talking about in Philippians, chapter 4, but he can not know it until he does. Let me say again that the first requirement for peace with God is the cessation of hostilities that comes about when a person accepts Jesus Christ as personal Savior.

Don't Worry About Anything

The next requirements for peace are in verse 6 of Philippians, chapter 4. Notice the first requirement is “be careful for nothing.” That doesn't mean, don't be careful when you cross the street, etc. Most of us by now know that when it says, “be careful for nothing,” it means “be anxious about nothing,” or more literally, “don't worry about anything.” That is the second requirement for peace. The first requirement for the peace of God that passeth understanding is don't worry about anything.

If we are honest with ourselves and if we are thinking carefully, as if we were hearing this for the first time, or if you are hearing it for the first time, you will recognize that that statement is completely contrary to common practice. In fact, a person never having heard that God has said this before might say, “Well, that is just like God, isn't it? Tell me something I couldn't possibly do. Don't worry about anything. That is impossible. There are things I have got to worry about. That is totally uncommon to not worry about anything. That sounds just like something God would instruct me to do. I have got to worry about whether I'm going to have a date next week. I've got to worry about whether I'm going to graduate next week. I've got to worry about this and that. There are things I have got to worry about. How dare God say, 'Don't worry about anything'.”

Pray About Everything

But as is always the case with the Scripture, God also tells us something to do instead of that. Are you aware of the fact that most of the time when God tells us not to do something, invariably He gives us something to do in its place? Here is another example of that in verse 6:

Philippians 4

6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Here is the second requirement for the peace that passeth understanding, and that is simply stated, “pray about everything.”

Again someone might say, “Well, that is just as unrealistic as the first statement. 'Don't worry about anything, but pray.' I can't pray about everything. I couldn't begin to pray about everything. I couldn't spend that much time praying. I would have calluses on my knees.”

You know it is interesting to me–the observation that many times the same people who say, “I can't pray about everything.”, are the same ones who say, “I've got to worry about everything.” Have you noticed that? The very same people who think they must worry are the ones who very often think they can't pray about everything. But do you see what God is saying? God is saying, “Don't worry, but pray.”

In my own personal life some years ago, it dawned on me that as far as my practice was concerned, what this verse should mean is, “Worry to the Lord.” When you are worried about something, why not translate those worries into a prayer? Worry to the Lord if you've got to worry about things. Certainly there are things that we have to think through; there are things that we have to come to grips with, have to decide about. But why not just worry to the Lord?

The Promise of Peace

That is where the promise comes in, “the peace that passeth understanding.” If you think about the concept of worry to the Lord, it may help to understand a little bit why we can have the peace that passeth understanding, even though as the passage says, “it passeth understanding.”

When you worry to the Lord, at least you are telling Somebody who can do something about it, aren't you? At least you are telling Somebody who knows what to do. Who are you talking to when you worry? You are talking to yourself, aren't you? But when you worry to the Lord, you are telling Somebody who can do something about it; whether He will or not, at least we know He can. So this is the second requirement for peace: “Don't worry about anything but secondly, pray about everything. Worry to the Lord.”

The Result of Peace

In verse 7, we have the very well-known statement of the results of peace. First, in the first part of verse 7, we have this description of peace:

Philippians 4

7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding…

Here is the description: “The peace which passeth understanding.” Someone pointed out to me one time after I had spoken to them about this verse privately–I have used these verses a great deal in counseling–that what that phrase means when it says “the peace that passeth understanding,” is that preachers shouldn't try to illustrate it, because you can't illustrate it anyway. It is the peace that passeth understanding. No illustration you can use will make people understand it, and so I take that as a rebuke, but I think it means more than that. When it says, “the peace that passeth understanding,” I think that means that there are probably people sitting here who are saying, “That is all right for you to say. You just don't know my problem. After all, you are only a preacher; you only work one day a week. You just sit in your study and prop your feet up all week. What could you know about problems? Boy if you had the problems I have, you'd know that this little formula would never work.”

Well, God knew that you would think that way, and that is why He describes it as the peace that passeth understanding. Do you know what that means? That means that this formula will work for you whether you think it will or not. It is the peace that passes understanding, and it can be yours even in your difficult situation.

One of the wisest statements I have heard, from a secular standpoint, was one that I heard a few years ago when I was attending a seminar for pastors about how pastors could be of use in a hospital ministry. It was conducted by the hospital administrator and some physicians in Wichita Falls, and toward the end of the discussion one of the ministers raised his hand and said, “Would someone tell me what the definition of 'major surgery' is?” The administrator of the hospital answered that question. With a perfectly straight face he said, “Major surgery is the surgery you are going to have. Minor surgery is what the other guy has.”

Sound Thinking and Mental Health

You know, that is true of worries. Major problems are the problems that you have. Minor problems are what I have and what other people have. And even though it is true that we have major problems, I know that many of you have problems that the rest of us would simply not be able to face. I am not making light of major problems, but I am saying that to God all problems are the same, and your problem is no more beyond God's help than anybody else's problem. Your problem, in God's view, is no more major than my problem that to you seems minor, and God says this will work whether you think that it will or not. It is the peace that passeth understanding. Notice also, He goes on to say:

Philippians 4

7…shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I love the practicality of the Scripture and the relevance of the Scripture. Some people spend a lot of time talking about making the Scripture relevant to the way we live now. I think we have that just backwards. What we ought to do is try to make the way we live now relevant to the Scripture, because God is not just up to date, but far advanced. Do you realize that God was talking, in verse 7, about good mental health 2000 years ago before anybody even thought about Sigmund Freud or any of the other guys that talk about good mental health. God's promise concerned sound thinking and good mental health years and years and years before anybody realized what a problem a disturbed mind can be.

Philippians 4

7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

This is a definite statement. Notice how specifically it is stated.

Philippians 4

7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

This is a wonderful promise, and it is one that, as you see, has some requirements attached to it; but as you can see also by this time, those requirements have nothing to do with earning the peace of God. It is simply a matter of setting the stage for God to work. And you see, the basic point is, and the reason I have specified our requirements is, that many times we simply don't have the peace of God because we have gotten in the way. We're so busy worrying about things that God cannot flood our hearts and our lives with His peace, because we are not letting Him in on it. We are so uptight and so convulsed over all of the problems that God cannot shed His peace abroad in our hearts.

So the requirements for peace are basically just to get out of His way and let Him work. Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. Worry to the Lord. This is the wonderful promise of peace.

Peace Reflected In Attitude

Now, in verses 8 and 9, he goes on talking about the subject of peace. Here he talks about the reflection of peace. Probably all of us know a person or persons that you think of as peaceful and happy, and sometimes we discover that people we thought were peacful and happy really aren't, but many times they really are. All of us who know someone who is enjoying peace with God and the peace of God know what a reflection that peace has in the lives of those individuals. That is what Paul talks about when he moves on into verses 8 and 9. Notice first that he says the peace of God will be reflected in our attitudes:

Philippians 4

8Finally, 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.

The peace of God will be reflected in our attitudes. Now these terms here in verse 8, pretty well speak for themselves. I don't think we need to take the time to go through each of these because we understand what honesty is, and we understand what purity is, etc. Basically they are all summed up in the last phrase of verse 8:

Philippians 4

8…if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

You see, he makes some specific categories, and then he sums it up. Not only the things that are honest and pure and lovely and of good report, but just anything that is virtuous and anything that is praiseworthy–think on these things. Here is a circular reaction. You see, you and I would not be able to think on these things if we did not have peace with God and the peace of God. The man who does not have peace with God, does not care to think about lovely and pure and noble and virtuous things. The person who is not enjoying the peace of God has his mind so cluttered with his own world and his own concerns, he doesn't have time to think about whatsoever things are lovely, just and etc. And so, it is a circular reaction. You can only think about these things if you have the peace of God and as you think about these things it will reflect the peace of God and bring continued peace in your life.

Bringing Thoughts Into Captivity

There is a very important principle here in verse 8, and that is that it is important to God what we think about. Have you ever though about that? Even what we think of is important to God. Now, we may say, “That's unfair. God doesn't even reserve me any time to just think about what I want to think about. He even wants to control my thoughts.” Well, it is interesting that that may bother some of us, but we don't seem to mind if He wants to number all the hairs of our head. In fact, we kind of take comfort in that, don't we? Why should we not expect God to control our thoughts, bring every thought into captivity to Christ? If He cares enough about us to even know the hairs on our head, isn't He worthy of bringing our thoughts into captivity to Him? If He cares that much about us, isn't it only right that we should care that much about Him and unreservedly commit even our thought life to Him?

There is much in Scripture that talks about our thought life. Here is one of the basic statement in verse 8:

Philippians 4

8…think on these things.

The implication, of course, is that if you do think on these things, you will not be thinking about some other categories of things. Here is another emphasis in verse 8 of that very thing–that the Scripture always presents a positive standpoint, a positive approach to Christian living. Keep a marker here and look at Colossians, chapter 3. Notice this same kind of statement, a positive approach to the Christian life, in Colossians, chapter 3, verse 2:

Colossians 3

2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Do you see that positive approach? Now look at Philippians, chapter 4, verse 8:

Philippians 4

8Finally, 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.

Colossians, chapter 3, verse 2:

Colossians 3

2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

I think many times in the Christian life too many Christians get this just backward, and we set our hatreds on things below. God never says that. Do you realize that? Sometimes we think it's very spiritual to hate the modernist and to hate the sinners and to hate this and to hate that. The more fiery a sermon we can preach against things like that, the more godly we are. Interesting thing–that is just not Biblical. Scripture never says that we should hate specific things. It says we should hate sin as God hates sin, but our specific instructions are from the positive standpoint. Set your affections in the right place and your hatreds will take care of themselves. Obviously if we love the things God loves, we're going to have an aversion to the things that God has an aversion to. It follows. But God's emphasis is on the positive. God help us as Christians not to get caught up in this trap of continually condemning, condemning, hating, hating. God help us to set our affections on things above. Think on things that are pure, and God's result in our lives will be a natural aversion to those things that are not pure and to those things that are not from above. Now this is the peace of God reflected in our attitudes.

Peace Reflected In Actions

Verse 9 says that the peace of God will be reflected in our actions also. Notice in verse 9:

Philippians 4

9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Notice Paul's personal example again. For those of you who may not have been through Philippians in as much detail as some of us have, you may again be caught by surprise that Paul would so egotistically use himself as an example. But I will remind you, as we have noticed in each of these cases, Paul is writing by inspiration and Paul's life was such that as the Holy Spirit was inspiring him to write, the Holy Spirit could say, “Go ahead, Paul, use yourself as an example. There is not a better one around.” So Paul would write, “These things that you have seen me do, imitate those things. Those things that you have learned and heard and received and seen in me, do, and the God of peace shall be with you.”

First, notice that Paul doesn't tell them what to do until he has first told them what to think. That too, is always the Biblical pattern. It is much more important to God what we are, than what we say. If we are what we ought to be, if we think what we ought to think, then what we say and what we do will come out right. Paul is just giving them an external example of what he has already been talking about in attitude. Attitude always dictates action. That is always the Biblical order.

Obeying the Word of God

Think with me about what he says here in verse 9:

Philippians 4

9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me…

How does that apply to us in the twentieth century because we haven't seen the Apostle Paul? Most of the Philippians, when he wrote this letter to them, could remember having seen him physically or could look forward to possibly seeing him again in the future. Basically what Paul is saying here, in verse 9, is the things that are recorded in the Word of God, the things that they had heard personally from him, the things that they had received in letters of the New Testament, the things that they had learned from other people who had observed Paul and related to them. Of course, that same thing is true of the New Testament. We have heard and we have learned–even if we haven't seen Paul firsthand. God has recorded what we need to know of that from the Scriptures. Basically what he is saying is, “Obey the Word of God.”

James says the same thing in James, chapter 1, verse 22:

James 1

22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only…

That's what he is saying. In fact, this is emphasized. If you notice the word “do” in Philippians, chapter 4, verse 9–and here is another example of verbal, plenary inspiration; even the very words are inspired–he says:

Philippians 4

9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

The word “do,” has a real significance in the Greek. It is a translation of the Greek word prasso which means not just do it, but it means “practice these things.” It means “make a habit of these things.” “The way you have seen me live, inculcate those habits into your life. Make those things become a habit.” That is doubly stressed because Paul writes verse 9 in the present tense, which means not only “do these things,” but it means “keep on doing them.” The present tense in Greek has a little different emphasis than it does in English. In the English is just means “I am doing it now, but it doesn't guarantee that I will be doing it anytime in the future.” But the present tense in Greek means “to keep on doing it.” That is what Paul says, “Those things which you have seen in me, keep on doing.”

Knowledge Produces Action

That, of course, is what the Scripture tells us about the Christian life. It is a matter of walking step by step at the direction of the Holy Spirit, and it is specifically a matter of obeying the Word of God. You see, the basic purpose of Scripture is to change our attitudes and our actions. Biblical knowledge is no good if it doesn't produce action in your life. It doesn't matter how much you study the Bible, how many times you come to Bible study, how many sermons you may sit through, if it is not having some effect on your life, then it is not accomplishing God's purpose. Paul says, in our case, “You have read these things in the Scripture. Now do those things. Practice them habitually.”

An Old Testament equivalent to this statement is in Ezra, chapter 7, verse 10. Ezra, as you may remember, was the scribe who was involved in the rebuilding of Jerusalem after its destruction. This is one of my favorite verses of Scripture, and I think it is very vital. Ezra was, from the human standpoint, very successful in inspiring men spiritually as they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem after the captivity. Ezra's basic philosophy of life is stated in verse 10.

Ezra 7

10For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

Notice that.

Ezra 7

10For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD…

Now that doesn't mean that it was lost and he set out to find it. It means that he made up his mind to find out what the Bible said, to study the Word of God. He set his heart to study the Word of God.

Notice this:

Ezra 7

10…and to do it…

To study the Word of God, and to do it. Notice what is third on the list.

Ezra 7

10…and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

See that? Third on the list. I call that “the principle of overflow.” God uses us in whatever place of ministry He has placed us–in our neighborhood, on our campus or wherever it may be, in our office, in the pulpit–on the basis of the principle of overflow. His intention is that we learn the Word of God for our own benefit first–to study it and to do it. As we faithfully study and do the Word of God, as we imitate the life of the Apostle Paul, or as we practice the things that he has written for us, then God enables us and gives us opportunities to teach that to other people.

Opportunity to Minister

That doesn't mean that you have got to experience everything that the Scripture has to say before you can share it with somebody else, but it does mean that the things that are most effectively communicated are those things that you have obeyed in the Scripture that God has given you the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to put into practice; and as you are faithful to do that, God gives you opportunity to minister to other people. That is always God's pattern.

Go back to Philippians, chapter 4. Paul is saying, “Learn these things from me. Study these things that I am writing, that you have heard from me and have seen exemplified in my life, and do those things.” Paul doesn't say it, but the principle of Scripture is that then and only then will you be able also to teach those things.

Notice what the result of that is in Philippians, chapter 4, verse 9:

Philippians 4

9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and [the result] the God of peace shall be with you.

Notice that phrase very carefully. I don't want to be a nit picker, but it is very important for us to notice these details.

Philippians 4

9…and the God of peace shall be with you.

Notice what that verse does not say. You might think just reading on the surface that he is repeating himself because back in verse 7 he talked about the peace of God that passeth all understanding. Now he talks about the God of peace being with you. But this is something much more significant, something equally important. It is not just a statement of the same truth. What he is saying here in verse 9 is, “The God of peace, the One who invented peace in the first place, will be with you.”

A Personal Application

Let me draw this application in conclusion of this message, by using a personal story along this line. Are you familiar with the game of “Beep, Beep?” “Beep, Beep” is a game that when you see a Volkswagen Beetle, the first person to see the Volkswagen Beetle says. “Beep, beep.” When he says that, he gets a point for his team. My family and I spent many hours playing “Beep, Beep,” as we traveled around various places. We usually have a very heated game going between our home and the church. Once when we were playing the game, we had an experience that I thought perfectly pictured the message of this verse.

We were driving to church, and with us in the car was our oldest daughter's friend. As we were driving along, playing a heated game of “Beep, Beep,” one of the children said, “Carol, you can't do that”–some particular decision that she had made, or something she had said in regards to the game. Carol said, “I can too do it. Remember, I am the one who thought up the game of ‘Beep, Beep.'” It is true. She originated the game of “Beep, Beep.” It was all her idea. She worked it all out.

Conclusion

Do you see what I am talking about? We had in the car with us that day the creator of “Beep, Beep,” and how could you argue with the creator of “Beep, Beep?” Of all the people that know how to play that game, she is the authority. That is what Paul is saying about peace. If you will practice the Word of God, you will have the very One who invented peace present with you. You will be aware of the presence of the God of peace. What a wonderful promise! You see, that is the way God wants us to live. God has made provision for us to be free of worry. I wonder, simple question that it is, have you taken advantage of God's provision of the peace that passeth understanding?


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