The Peace of God

The Peace of God

“The Peace of God”
(Philippians 4:6-7)
Advent Series (4/5)

Rev. Todd A. Linn, PhD

Henderson’s First Baptist Church, Henderson

We are continuing our series of messages on Advent which means “arrival” or “coming,” as we anticipate the arrival or coming of Christ at Christmas.

Each week we have focused on one major theme of Christ and each of the four candles around the wreath symbolizes one of those four themes. We began with the first candle which symbolizes hope and we talked about hoping in God. Then it was love, and then last week joy. This week we focus on peace, the peace of God.

Check out this short video introduction on the theme of God’s peace.


How do we have peace to quiet the voices in our heads, or to keep from going crazy in the silence? How can we we sleep in heavenly peace when we can’t even sleep? How can we how calm our stressed-out souls with a peace that surpasses all understanding? Let’s discover what the Bible teaches Christians about finding peace and maintaining that peace.

Take your Bibles and join me now in the Book of Philippians, chapter 4.

Philippians is an appropriate follow-up to last week’s study on joy because Philippians is a joy-saturated letter. It is a positive letter with no fewer than 15 explicit references to the word joy, 15 times the word “joy” or “rejoice” is used in just 4 chapters. A joy-filled letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church at Philippi. It’s teachings apply to the church at Henderson.

We’re in the last chapter, chapter 4 of Philippians, in a section of material where Paul includes a number of exhortations and encouragements. He writes about “standing fast in the Lord” there in verse 1 and the importance of unity in verses 2 and 3. Then, verse 4, one of those 15 references to joy: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” And he writes about our being gentle and gracious there in verse 5—and I love the last phrase there in verse 5, a phrase just preceding the verses we will study this morning, verses 6 and 7.

And immediately before verse 6 is this phrase: “The Lord is at hand.” He is near, near in the sense that He will come again—second advent, second arrival—and near in the sense that He is now with us, our Lord is with us always, even to the end of the age. And it’s in the comfort of this truth, that, to pick up on what we studied last time—that fulness of joy is found in the presence of the Lord, his nearness, that Paul writes these two verses—verses 6 and 7 of our text this morning.

Please stand in honor of the reading of God’s Word.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


These two verses are ideal memory verses for Christians. If you haven’t memorized Philippians 4:6-7, jot down that reference in your calendar and memorize them this week. They will be a blessing to your soul.

Now they are written to Christians. And that’s an important reminder. The peace we’re talking about today is a particular peace for the household of faith, for believers, for children of God, for Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. Remember, Jesus said to His disciples in John 14:27: “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” This peace Jesus gives is different from worldly peace.

Worldly peace, or common notions of peace, typically means the temporary feeling we have when our problems go away, or peace in the general sense of “no conflict,” no war, no strife. Worldly peace is merely the subtraction of problems. Spiritual peace, heavenly peace, the peace of God, however, is a peace to face problems, to meet problems head on, to have peace—even if the problems don’t go away. And it is a peace that comes only through Christ.

True peace can be known only by followers of Jesus Christ. That’s evident in the last part of verse 7: this peace is “through Christ Jesus,” through Christ. Don’t miss that. Unbelievers do not experience this unusual peace. This is a peace for those who follow Jesus.

If you’re not a follower of Jesus you’re greatest need is not peace in the world, but peace with God. The Bible says that that peace comes when you turn from your sin and turn to Jesus by faith. You believe Jesus lived for you and died for you, and was raised from the dead for you so you could be justified, declared not guilty of all sin. As the Bible says in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Peace with God comes through Jesus Christ, through faith in Jesus. Turn to Christ and be saved.

So the peace we’re talking about today is the peace that comes through the One about whom the Prophet Isaiah was speaking in Isaiah 9:6 as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” He’s the one about whom the angels and heavenly host were speaking in Luke 2:14 when they said to the shepherds out in the country keeping watch over their flocks by night: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”

The peace of God comes as light shining in a stable in Bethlehem. Peace of God through the peace of Christ. So Jesus Christ makes true peace possible. How do Christians maintain this peace? Note with me three truths in these verses, verses 6 and 7. First, see God’s prohibition for Christians.

I. God’s Prohibition: Don’t Panic! (6a)

First four words of verse 6:

Be anxious for nothing…

Better: “Stop being anxious!” Grammatically, these words are in the present tense and imperative mood; an imperative that conveys prohibition. In other words, here is not a “do” but a “don’t.” Don’t be anxious, don’t panic. It is forbidden, prohibited.

Arguably, the Philippians had good cause for anxiety. Like most of the early Christians they faced persecution, poverty, and separation from friendships and family. They often struggled to get food, clothing, and shelter. They faced spiritual challenges like any church, there were a couple members who were causing disunity in the church—Paul called them out by name there in verse 2, two women named Euodia and Syntyche. So these Christians in Philippi were not immune from troubles, trials, temptations, and anxieties.

Yet, Paul writes: “Be anxious for nothing.” Stop being anxious. The word “anxious” there means “to be divided” or “to be pulled apart.” That’s a helpful word picture, isn’t it?! When we worry, we’re being pulled about or pulled apart, pulled in several directions. We’re thinking about one thing, then another, then another still. “What if this happens?” and “what if that happens?”

We awake in the middle of the night and we worry about a troubled child, a bad health diagnosis, money, paying the bills, school, a test, a grade, employment, a job responsibility, advancement, promotion, marriage, family.

These are not unusual fears or worries. In fact, Paul writes here as though assuming that we are already anxious, worried, fearful, or panicking. Stop being anxious.

It’s like Jesus in Matthew 6. There’s a great passage there in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 6 and verses 25-34. Don’t turn there now, but you may wish to read it later this afternoon. Jesus says to HIs followers: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry,” do not worry about “your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,” and wear, and so on. Those were common worries of God’s people in the early days of the church, basic necessities, so many things we take for granted—eating, drinking, clothes. And in that passage Jesus says, “Therefore do not worry” three times. Do not worry. Do not worry. Do not worry. And he tells His followers that the God who takes care of lesser things like birds, flowers, and grass, is the same God who will take care of greater things, like you and me, people created in His image.

This may help us understand why worry is prohibited. Why this command, this imperative. Perhaps because when Christians worry they are betraying a lack of trust in the God they say they trust! Our anxiety makes God look bad. We tell people we love Jesus and that He is the answer to every problem, and then we live before others in a way that undermines our testimony.

By the way, worry doesn’t ever help, does it?! I mean worrying about tomorrow’s problems doesn’t help us today, does it? Worrying about tomorrow’s problems is like taking the clouds of tomorrow and pulling them over the sunshine of today.

Someone said, “Worry will do the same thing to you mentally that sand will do to machinery.” Think about that. Sand in a machine will cause that machine to run poorly. It breaks it down. It keeps it from being productive.

Worry gets us nowhere. It’s like pacing the floor. Lots of movement back and forth, but it doesn’t take us forward. So let’s move forward. We’ve read what not to do. Let’s read now what we should do and move from God’s prohibition to God’s prescription.

II. God’s Prescription: Do Pray! (6b)

6 …but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Here is God’s prescription to fix our worry. You go to the doctor, he or she gives you a prescription. If you follow that prescription, you’re most likely to get well sooner than if you don’t follow the prescription. What is God’s prescription for peace? In a word: prayer. Don’t panic; do pray. Second part of verse 6. The Bible says:

…but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

The words “prayer and supplication” or “prayer and petition” refer to both prayer in general and then prayers in particular. The word “supplication” is a word that conveys focusing upon specific, special needs, asking passionately, fervently, persistently.

And Paul says we’re to take “everything” to God in prayer. See that in verse 6? “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication…”

In everything. Note the contrast and close connection here in these first two phrases of verse 6: “Be anxious for nothing—but in everything by prayer…” In other words, “The way to be anxious about nothing is to pray about everything.”

So it’s not just, say “No” to anxiety, but say “Yes” in prayer. It’s like 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your cares upon the Lord because He cares for you” Pray about everything. Take everything to the Lord in prayer. What you think of as big things and little things. And remember that to God, our big things are small things to Him.

G. Campbell Morgan once asked, “Can you think of anything that’s big to God?” That’s a good question, isn’t it?! We’re worried about bringing some things to God. We talk about big things and little things, but to a big God, everything’s little. Everything is little to God. So don’t worry about bothering God. He’s big and He can handle it.
But you have to pray. You have to ask for help. Petition. Supplication.

And how are we to come to God? How do we come asking? What spirit is necessary here in verse 6? Put another way: “What’s the word that’s easy to miss there in this prescription? I mean, you need to follow a prescription exactly, don’t you? If you want to be made well, you have to read the prescription carefully and follow the prescription completely. Right? Look again at verse 6:

…but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known…

In every single thing for which you come to God asking, come with thanksgiving. Come with a grateful heart. Gratitude. If you just come asking for stuff and don’t thank Him for what He’s already done, you can’t really expect Him to answer your prayers the way you’d like, right?

Pastor H.B. Charles, who for years pastored a church in a section of Los Angeles where there was a lot of crime, tells about a woman who was always grateful when she talked to God in prayer. She would show up at church and pray the same prayer. She would just say: “O Lord, thank you Jesus. O Lord, thank you Jesus.” And she would pray that prayer every week at church. Week after week the same prayer: “O Lord, thank you Jesus.”

And the kids at church would smile and some of them laughed at her every time she prayed because it would always be the same prayer: “O Lord, thank you Jesus.”

One day someone asked her, “Why do you pray the same little prayer?” She said, “Well, I’m just combining the two prayers that I know.” She said, “We live in a bad neighborhood and some nights there are bullets flying and I have to grab my daughter and hide on the floor, and in that desperate state all I know how to cry out is, ‘O Lord.’ But when I wake up in the morning and see that we’re okay I say, ‘Thank you Jesus.’ When I got to take my baby to the bus stop and she gets on that bus and I don’t know what’s going to happen to her while she’s away, I cry, ‘O Lord.’ And then when 3:00 P.M. comes and that bus arrives and my baby is safe, I say, ‘Thank you Jesus.’”

She said, “Those are the only two prayers I know and when I get to church God has been so good I just put my two prayers together, “O Lord, thank you Jesus.”—H.B. Charles, “A Psalm for Giving Thanks.”

In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving.

Then the phrase, “Let your requests be made known to God.” Not so He will get information that He didn’t previously have! Remember God knows all things. He is omniscient. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:8, “Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”

Let your requests be made known to God so that you are making them known to Him. You are not worrying about them. You are making them known to God. You are taking them to God. See, it’s a given that you need, that you have requests. But to whom do you make these requests known? To yourself over and over again in worry? To friends only? To counselors only? To doctors only? To neighbors? Always talking to others, but rarely talking to God? Let your requests be made known to God.

I was reading DA Carson yesterday. He was making the point that most Christians know they should pray, but few really do it and therefore, few rarely experience the peace that surpasses all understanding. Listen to this. He asks:

When was the last time you prayed explicitly and at length over the things that worry you, trouble you, plague you? Did you take them out and recount them to God, one by one, laying your burdens on him? Time, time alone and quiet before God, that is what we need. Our lives are so rushed that we begrudge a three-minute “quiet time,” and then we wonder where God is.—Basics for Believers (Philippians), page 112.

Don’t panic. Do pray. God’s prohibition. God’s prescription. Thirdly, and finally:

III. God’s Provision: Delight in Peace (7)

Verse 7 tells Christians what they can expect if they will follow God’s prescription to pray:

and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The peace of God “which surpasses all understanding,” and someone added, “and all misunderstanding, too!”

But God provides it. He provides peace. He gives peace. See it there in verse 7: “And the peace “of” God. Of God! He provides it. The peace comes—while the things for which we asked may not! We may not get the very things we ask for because God knows best and knows what we need and what we don’t need, amen? We may not get the things for which we asked, but we will get peace. It will come through Christ Jesus.

Christ makes true peace possible—it is “through Christ Jesus” that this peace which surpasses all understanding guards our hearts and minds. “Through” Christ Jesus.

A peace that surpasses all understanding. It is supernatural. Supernatural peace. God’s peace. A peace that “guards” our hearts and minds.

That word “guard” there means to surround like with soldiers. A garrison. A protective fortress. An impervious fortress of peace soldiers. Impermeable. Impenetrable. Choose your adjective! The point is nothing is going to get through to your heart and mind! God’s peace soldiers will keep the enemies of doubt and despair away.

You take everything to God in prayer—really take it to Him, with thanksgiving, talking to God regularly, thanking Him for His abundant blessings—and before you can say “Amen” you’ll experience a peace that surpasses all understanding. You’ll be receiving God’s provision—His heavenly, supernatural provision—of peace.

And peace comes while the troubles may stay. This is like the calm in the center of a tornado. There is peace in the center of the chaos. This is a peace not as the world gives, but a peace from God that is itself the peace of God, the peace of presence of Christ.

Remember: peace is not what happens when our problems go away. Peace is not the subtraction of problems; it is the addition of God’s presence.

Adrian Rogers once said, “The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to get you out of trouble; He came to get in trouble with you!” It’s like John 16:33 where Jesus said, “In the world you shall have trouble, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.” Jesus doesn’t always get us out of trouble, but He gets in trouble with us.

Think of if. Where is Paul when he is writing this letter? He is writing this letter from prison. He’s got guards all around him. He’s got soldiers who think they’re guarding Paul, and in one sense of course, they are. But I imagine Paul looking at them occasionally and smiling to himself, thinking: “They are guarding me, haha! No sir. It is God’s peace soldiers who are really guarding me! I’ve got the peace of God! The peace of God! It surpasses all understanding. And the peace of God will continue to guard my heart and guard my mind through Christ Jesus, my Lord, amen!”

Let’s read these words together. Let’s say them together: Philippians 4:6-7:

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Let’s pray: “Dear God, we thank You for these words. We thank You for every good and perfect gift from above, namely our salvation. Help us to grow in our prayer life, to regularly let our requests be made known to You, that we may receive the provision of your peace, a peace that will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, in whose name we pray, amen.”

Let me invite you to stand and respond to the Word today. Every time we hear from God we’ve invited to respond to His truth. We’re going to sing and as we do, I invite you to respond. You need to be saved this morning, receive Christ. You need to confess a sin and repent, do that. You can do that right where you are. You need to repent of the sin of not trusting God or not praying as you should, talk to God. Ask for His forgiveness.

You want to join the church, you come and say, “I want to join,” Or, “I’d like to be baptized.” We’re having a baptism this evening. You say, “I’d like to be baptized, too” and you come.

We’re going to sing. I’ll be up front here if you’d like to come. If you’re not sure you’re saved or you know you’re not saved and you want to be saved. You want to be sure you have eternal life, that when you die you’ll go to heaven and not to hell, then you come while we sing. I’ll receive you and pray with you.

Let’s sing and respond to the truth.


I run to Christ when chased by fear and find a refuge sure. “Believe in Me,” His voice I hear; His words and words secure. I run to Christ when torn by grief and find abundant peace. “I too had tears,” He gently speak; thus joy and sorrow meet.

I run to Christ when worn by life and find my soul refreshed. “Come unto Me,” He calls through strife; fatigue gives way to rest. I run to Christ when vexed by hell and find a mighty arm. “The devil flees,” the Scriptures tell; he roars, but cannot harm.

I run to Christ when stalked by sin and find a sure escape. “Deliver me,” I cry to Him; temptation yields to grace. I run to Christ when plagued by shame and find my one defense. “I bore God’s wrath,” He pleads my case my Advocate and Friend.

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