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Supernatural Peace

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
May 7, 2024 12:01 am

Supernatural Peace

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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May 7, 2024 12:01 am

Christians will face many challenges and trials in this life, but we will never face them alone. Today, Steven Lawson teaches on the supernatural peace that God gives His children amid life's storms.

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Meet Today's Teacher:

Steven Lawson is founder and president of OnePassion Ministries in Dallas. He is a Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow, professor of preaching and dean of D.Min. studies at The Master's Seminary, and teacher for the Institute for Expository Preaching. He is author of many books, including The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Knox: Fearless Faith, and The Moment of Truth.

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Nathan W. Bingham is vice president of ministry engagement for Ligonier Ministries, executive producer and host of Renewing Your Mind, host of the Ask Ligonier podcast, and a graduate of Presbyterian Theological College in Melbourne, Australia. Nathan joined Ligonier in 2012 and lives in Central Florida with his wife and four children.

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This peace will not come from within us.

It's not a peace that comes from the world around us. It's a peace that can only come down from the throne of grace above to fill and to flood our hearts. This is what God promises to give to us, and it is the result of our bringing the matters to the Lord in prayer. Yesterday we read Paul's command in Philippians to rejoice in the Lord always, no matter the circumstance. And as we'll see today, he'll go on to mention the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. How do we have this peace so that in all circumstances you can rejoice and be at peace? Well, I'm glad you're joining us today for Renewing Your Mind, because that is what Stephen Lawson will be answering as we continue his study of Philippians.

The Christian life is not a life where we're called to simply grit our teeth and bear it. Our Good Shepherd is with His sheep, and God has provided for His people, knowing the cares, the worries that we would each face, like the answers and the practical instruction from the Apostle Paul in Philippians. So as you consider the worries you're facing, turn your Bible to Philippians chapter 4, as Stephen Lawson explores this supernatural peace. In this session, we want to look at verses 6 and 7. The title of this session is Supernatural Peace.

I want to begin by reading the passage. The Apostle Paul writes, 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. As believers, we are subject to worry and anxiety because we are not exempt from the troubles of life. We too have parents that pass away. We too have illness. We too lose a job. We too find ourselves in a financial difficulty. We too have children that go astray. We are surrounded with personal problems on every side to say nothing of the national dilemma in which we find ourselves.

And it would be very easy for us to be overwhelmed with a sense of worry on a personal level as well as an extended level. And what we're looking at in this passage is extremely relevant and practical for us as Christians today. What this passage is saying is that there is a peace, a supernatural peace that God gives to His children in the midst of the storms of life that cannot be explained apart from God Himself. It's not the removal of our problems that Christianity promises. In fact, if you become a Christian, you may have a new set of problems because now you are living contrary to this world and rubbing the world the wrong way.

There will be some new challenges that you will face now that you are converted to Christ. But as a Christian, God gives us the grace to go through these difficult times. And a part of that grace is the gift of His peace that surpasses all comprehension.

This is something the Apostle Paul was experiencing as he is in Roman imprisonment for two long years, chained to Roman soldiers, confined, unable to travel, unable to go out and to preach to the masses of people, no longer able to plant churches as he had been previously doing, now confined in a small amount of space, yet nevertheless, he is a man who knows peace. You and I need to know peace, and so what we're looking at today in this passage is very much needed and it is very practical. So as we look at these verses, the first thing that I want you to note is the panic to avoid.

Paul begins by telling the Philippians really that it's a failure on their part to trust God as they are filled with worry and anxiety. He begins by saying, be anxious for nothing. The Greek verb tense here would translate this, stop being anxious, as though they are in a continual state at times of being filled with anxiety. The word anxious literally in the original language means to be pulled in different directions.

It's almost like you're a rope in a tug-of-war and you're being pulled in opposite directions and you feel like you're about to break on the inside. To be anxious is to be fretful, it is to be fearful, it is to be distressed, it is to be filled with worry. In fact, there's an old English root from which we derive the word worry as it comes into our language. It means to strangle, and the idea is that worry gains a stranglehold in our lives and chokes out all peace. And so Paul is saying, be anxious for nothing. That's quite a statement, nothing.

Well, that's what he says, be anxious for nothing. Worry is a failure to trust God. It's a whole lot easier to preach and teach on this than it is to live this. It's a failure to believe that God is in control. It's kind of a practical atheism. I mean, theologically you believe there's a God, but practically you're not trusting God.

It's a failure to believe that God will provide whatever you need at the time that you need it. And worry is closely related to the previous verses, rejoice in the Lord. It's worry that steals joy from us. And so we must be careful to guard our hearts lest worry overtake us. So he begins with this very emphatic, be anxious for nothing. And I don't know what's going on in your life right now.

I don't know what occupies your mind. I don't know what difficulties are in front of you. I don't know what creates great concern for you right now in your life.

But what Paul has to say here is something that we all need to hear on an ongoing basis. Be anxious for nothing. This leads to the second heading I want to set before you, the prayer to offer. The prayer to offer because there's only one cure for worry.

And there's only one antidote for anxiety. And that is prayer. He says, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. He says, but in everything, and that's in contrast to be anxious for nothing.

So they're polar opposites. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, bring that to the Lord in prayer. When he says in everything, he means in every situation, in every circumstance, in every trial, in every difficulty, bring it to the Lord in prayer. Don't worry about anything, pray about everything, is what Paul is saying. I'm reminded of a sermon that G. Campbell Morgan, who was the predecessor of Martin Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel, tells in which he preached a sermon on committing your needs to the Lord in prayer. And after the service there at Westminster Chapel, he was speaking to many of the worshippers who had come, and a dear, precious lady, a very proper lady with white gloves on, approached Dr. G. Campbell Morgan and took him by the hand and said, that was a wonderful sermon on how great God is, and I have a question for you. Can we commit to the Lord in prayer little things, or is it only big things?

And G. Campbell Morgan looked at her with kind of a twinkle in his eye and he said, oh, dear woman, nothing in your life is big. Everything in your life is little compared to God. There's no differentiation between big and little when you're God. God towers in transcendent majesty over everything in our lives. We are like less than ants as he looks down from the heights of heaven, from his heavenly perspective. Of course we can commit little things to the Lord in prayer.

They may be big or little things to us, but they're all very small to omnipotent God for whom nothing is impossible to him. And so he says, in everything by prayer. And this word for prayer is a very common word for prayer. And the idea is of coming face to face with God, your soul face to face with God. It's a one-on-one encounter with God to bring your heart, your soul, your requests, your praise directly to God. And this is the privilege that we have as priests, a kingdom of priests, that we have direct access to God, that we don't need a priest here in a church to make access for us to God.

We have our mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has opened up a one true living way that we can have confidence to come before the throne of grace in time of need. And that is the idea here in this word for prayer. And then Paul adds, and supplication.

And the root word for supplication means to lack, to be deprived, to be without something. And it is the idea that as we are aware of what we need, that for which we are lacking to do the will and the work of God, we need to bring that before the Lord for what we need, what we are lacking in order to move forward in his will. And then he adds, with thanksgiving, and how important this is, because with supplication we are asking God to provide what we do not have.

With thanksgiving, we are giving, expressing gratitude to him for what he has already provided for us. And perhaps with a sense of faith for the future that God will answer this request according to his perfect wisdom and his perfect timing. He says, let your request be made known to God. Whatever it is that you need to serve God, to carry out the will of God in your life, to bring these specific requests to the Lord in prayer. And not just in a general manner in which, oh God help me, where it's vague, but to be very specific with your requests. Lord, I feel that I need this and this and this.

You know better than I know, but I'm asking you for these specific things. That's included in this word for requests. And so, again, this is, we need to hear this. So often, rather than taking a matter to the Lord in prayer, we'll try to solve it ourselves. We'll pick up the phone.

We'll call someone to try to make it happen. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but God becomes almost our last resort rather than our first point of appeal. Let us bring our matters and our needs to the Lord in prayer and leave them there with the Lord.

And what is the result of that? Well, he tells us in verse 7, I want you to note the peace to enjoy. And he says, and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. This word peace is such a blessed word. It means an inner calm within the heart.

It means an inner tranquility, a stillness, placidness, a quietness inside the heart, untroubled. This peace of God means it is a peace that comes from God. And it is the peace that only God can give. This peace will not come from within us. We don't supply our own peace. It's not a peace that comes from the world around us. It's a peace that can only come down from the throne of grace above to fill and to flood our hearts.

This is what God promises to give to us, and it is the result of our bringing the matters to the Lord in prayer. It's like depositing money in the bank. Once you deposit it in the bank, that's now the bank's concern. You can walk away knowing that it is in very secure hands. How foolish it would be to deposit your money in the bank and then stay up all night worried that somehow, some way, it's going to become lost.

No, you've committed it to the bank, and now that is their concern. It's the same with prayer. Once we place the matter into the hands of God, there is a transfer of responsibility from us to God. And it is now God's responsibility to answer our prayer according to His perfect wisdom and grace. And so He says, and the peace of God. And now He begins to talk to us about this peace. First of all, He says it surpasses all comprehension.

It means there is no explanation for this peace other than I have placed it into the hands of the Lord. It transcends my comprehension. It surpasses all comprehension. It defies logic. I ought to be more worried right now, but I'm not because I've given it to the Lord.

It surpasses, far surpasses all human intellect. He then says, we'll guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. This word guard is a very important word.

It's a military term. You can almost see it in the word guard as though a soldier is on guard, lest any enemy should invade. And when we commit matters to the Lord in prayer, the peace that God provides sets up a system of security around our heart that cannot be penetrated by the advancement of worry and anxiety that wants to come back into our heart. There's a defense around our heart.

In fact, the word was sometimes used of a fortress that would guard those who were inside the impregnable walls of this bulwark, of this castle. And that's how strong this peace is, that it will not allow worry and anxiety to enter back into our heart and into our soul. He says, we'll guard your hearts and your minds. And the idea there is the totality of your inner person, your mind, your affections, your emotions, your heart. He is saying that every aspect of your inner soul and your inner life will be guarded if you will commit the matter to the Lord in prayer. This is not a unique passage of Scripture. As you well know, there are many other passages of Scripture to which we could turn.

But 1 Peter 5 verses 6 and 7 immediately come to mind. Peter writes, Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. As we commit our troubles, our worries, our anxieties to the Lord, we know that we are putting them into the hands of one who cares for us greatly. And according to his perfect will, we'll answer our requests, and that he will exalt us at the proper time. And the imagery here is that we have been humbled by circumstances. We have been brought down to our knees. And as we find ourselves in a low place, and as we look up to the Lord and we cast our anxiety and our burdens on the Lord, he will take them, and he will exalt us at the proper time.

And we may ask, so what is that proper time? It is when we finally humble ourselves enough. It is when we finally lower ourselves enough before his throne of grace. It is once we have clothed ourselves with humility and cast our burdens upon the Lord that he will exalt us.

There is also what our Lord taught in Matthew chapter 6 in the Sermon on the Mount, in which he has given very clear instruction to us. He says in Matthew 6, verse 25, Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink, nor for your body as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor do they nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

And who of you, by being worried, can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow.

They do not toil, nor do they spin. Yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. He goes on to say, Do not worry then, saying, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or what will we wear for clothing? Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these other things will be added to you. Your priority is not to worry about what you're going to eat and what you're going to wear and how things are going to work out. Your priority is to seek first the kingdom of God, to seek the Lord in prayer, and to commit your needs to him in prayer.

And Jesus said at the end of this verse, and all these things referring to food and clothing will be added to you. You put it into the Lord's hands and watch what the Lord will do to act on your behalf. Your worrying does not accomplish anything, Jesus said.

In fact, it really is counterproductive. Commit it to the Lord and watch the Lord work on your behalf. So I wonder as we have looked at this, do you need supernatural peace this day? Do you need to pray? Or do you need to commit matters to the Lord in prayer?

Are you expressing thanksgiving as you are coming before the Lord in prayer? What must you commit into his sovereign hands that now troubles you? And more importantly, have you committed your life to the Lord? Have you put your heart and soul and life into the hands of the Lord?

I would imagine most of us are converted, and we have made that decisive decision to commit our life to the Lord eternally. And yet, even Romans 12, 1 says that we are to be continually presenting our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. We need to be continually presenting our lives and our bodies to the Lord as a living sacrifice. So may the Lord so work in your heart and life today that you will commit these matters to him and that you will know a peace that surpasses all comprehension. Have you experienced that peace? And isn't it also an encouragement when a brother or sister is walking through a heavy trial and you see them have this peace and joy?

If that's you walking through a valley in this season, know the encouragement and blessing you are to fellow believers, all by his grace and for his glory. That was Stephen Lawson on this Tuesday edition of Renewing Your Mind as you hear messages from his 42-message study in the book of Philippians. You can own this entire teaching series on DVD when you give a gift of any amount at or when you call us at 800 435 4343.

You'll also be able to stream the series in the free Ligonier app and access the digital study guide. So request access today at We're inundated with noise today and ideas that go against the Word of God. The Christian life today really is the battle for the mind. And that's what Stephen Lawson will consider tomorrow here on Renewing Your Mind.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-08 03:26:32 / 2024-05-08 03:34:50 / 8

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