#201 – HAVE YOU LOST PEACE? (28/9/20)
Think back to a really close friendship that you had in the past. Why did it fade away?
We are to designed to have peaceful, intimate friendships with people and with God. For Christians, the health of their peace with God will be reflected in their friendships. The devil tempted mankind to rebel against God through seeds of mistrust; this, in turn, very quickly led to broken human relationships. If we love God, we will love others. If we know that we are forgiven, we will forgive. If we are enjoying God’s nearness, we will be gentle and devoted to others. Paul writes, encouraging two leaders in this church to work out their differences,
‘I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.’ (Philippians 4:2-3)
To ‘be of the same mind’ means to think and behave in light of the gospel; peace is restored when we are enjoying the gospel. Pauls says earlier in the book,
‘In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!’ (Philippians 2:5-8)
Relational breakdown with God and one another is an ever-present danger. The devil is at work to bring division. Peace with God and with one another is restored through looking at the cross and learning to apply the mindset of Jesus in our own lives.
Broken relationships and unforgiveness are an opening of the door to the demonic. Paul writes,
‘In your anger do not sin’: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.’ (Ephesians 4:26-27)
Are there any relationships that you need to restore? Are you holding grudges? Are you only giving what you think people deserve? Will you forgive and love people in light of how God has loved you? Will we do as God commands? Will we,
‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ (Ephesians 4:31-32)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - MAKE PEACE YOUR GUARDIAN THROUGH PRAYER
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
When have you felt most peaceful and why was this the case?
Introduction - please share in your group
On Sunday, and during this week’s devotionals, we are considering how we can experience the peace of God in all circumstances.
Firstly, Paul shows us that we are all prone to losing peace in our relationships. He encourages two leading women in the church to work out their difficulties,
‘I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.(Philippians 4:2-3)
Secondly, Paul talks more broadly about how we can make peace our guardian through joyful prayer. He writes,
‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:4-7)
As we choose worship, prayer and thanks as we are assaulted with anxiety, we will enjoy peace with God, peace in our relationships and inner tranquility that defies logic.
Discuss in your group
(Choose which questions to cover based on the time you have)
1. What does it mean to ‘rejoice in the Lord’ and why does Paul repeat this? (4:4)
2. How does knowing that ‘the Lord is near’ (4:5) help us to be gentle and less anxious?
2. We are encouraged to bring everything to the Father in prayer (4:6). How could one cultivate this habit?
2. What is the peace of God that we are promised as a guard? (4:7)
Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:
1. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message or your bible reading this week)?
2. What will you do in response?
3. How can we pray for you?
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