• Matt Beaney

#205 – PEACE IS A GUARDIAN (2/10/20)


When have you felt most peaceful and why was this the case?


As we’ve seen this week, our relationships are under constant strain and, on top of this, the devil seeks to bring division - division from God and from one another. The good news is that God offers strategies in order to enjoy His peace. Paul 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 do the things mentioned in this text, God gives us His supernatural peace. The promise is that His peace ‘transcends all understanding’. No matter how bad we know things to be, His peace is greater.


Peace is a guardian

The word used here for ‘guard your hearts and minds’ is a military term. God’s peace is like a soldier on guard over our hearts and minds as we ‘rejoice in the Lord’ (see Tuesday’s study); as we also choose prayer and thanksgiving over anxiety (see Wednesday and Thursday’s studies) our hearts and minds will be guarded by the peace of God.


What is the peace of God?


i) It’s Peace with God

Firstly, the peace of God is about our enjoying the peace we have with God through Jesus. Paul writes,

‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Romans 5:8)

Before we were Christians, we were at war with God - we were rebellious to Him and we were under His wrath for sin. Circumstances and demonic accusations, however, can shake our assurance of the peace we have with God. As we ‘rejoice in the Lord…pray… give thanks’ our trust in the gospel of peace will transcend all circumstances.


ii) Peace with one another

Secondly, the peace of God is harmonious relationships in the church. A community that is enjoying the grace and peace of God will also love one another as Jesus has loved them.


iii) Peace as an experience

Finally, the Holy Spirit fills us with inner tranquility as we trust, pray and give thanks. His peace transcends all understanding; one who is experiencing such peace will say things like, “I know that this problem exists but I’m filled with faith and deep joy that everything is under God’s control”.


RESPONSE

Peace will be your guardian if we pray in a manner outlined in this week’s text. There is no circumstance or anxious heart that can’t be calmed by God’s peace.

COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - MAKE PEACE YOUR GUARDIAN THROUGH PRAYER


Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

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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