Get Real part 4:
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
October 15, 2006
Philippians 4:4-9 (NLT)
I don’t think any of you
would be surprised if I said we live in a world of turmoil, would you?
All you gotta do is turn on the news, and it becomes pretty clear.
There are wars being fought, there are terrorists being pursued, there
are school shooting happening on a fairly regular basis, there are
abductions and murders that you hear about every day. There are the
daily threats that our troops are facing in Afghanistan and all the
politics associated with that. There’s the situation in Iraq. Just this
week in New Brunswick, Mount Allison University had to shut down
because of illness.
There’s the war between different cultures and religions. There’s the
constant struggle between different socio-political positions. There
are the typical dysfunctions you might find within a family. There’s
the internal unrest as you might struggle with doubts and fears, and as
you seek meaning and purpose in life.
There are all kinds of issues in this world that try to destroy peace.
So in the face of all of this, how can you know peace? I mean, you’re
not going to solve all of these problems. And ignoring them isn’t
really an option, either. So how can you discover Real Peace?
Well, you’ll find different answers to that. As one guy said, “My
therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what
I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of chips and a chocolate
cake. I feel better already.” SOURCE:
So maybe that’ll work. Someone else has said that there’s a secret
gadget to insure peace and quiet at home. It is called a phone less
Here’s my favourite way of dealing with all the stresses and problems
of life… [Bang Head Here]
So maybe you need to resort to that. But is there a better way? Is it
possible to live a life that is characterized by peace, even in the
face of our troubles and struggles?
I think it is, and I believe the promise of Jesus in John 16:33…
John 16:33 (NLT)
“I have told you all this so that you may
have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Underline the words “peace in me”. Peace is possible, and it’s
available to you in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the one who makes
the difference. Far too often we look for other solutions while
ignoring Him. We look to our possessions, we seek treatment, we try to
look within to find peace… we try all of these things. But real peace
is only possible because of Jesus. I’m not saying that treatment can’t
help, and I’m not saying that self-reflection isn’t important, but
they’re not the full answer. Jesus is. He told His followers then and
He still tells His followers today…
John 14:27 (NLT)
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind
and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So
don’t be troubled or afraid.”
He wants us to have peace. So let’s take a look at how we can gain that
peace, okay? Seven Strategies for Discovering Real Peace. First, in
order to experience real peace even in the midst of unsettling times,
you need to…
Seven Strategies for Discovering Real Peace:
1. Live in
relationship with Jesus.
This is where it all
begins. All the other things we’re going to talk about this morning,
they’re in no particular order. But this… this is first and foremost.
If you want to experience Real Peace, then it all begins right here. In
You can’t have the peace of God until you have peace with God.
You can’t have the peace of God until you have peace with God. In fact,
God offers you lots of good things… things you want to have… peace,
joy, fulfillment, purpose, meaning, forgiveness, hope, eternal life…
and they are all made available to you within the context of a
relationship with God.
If you reject Jesus (who is God), or if you seek these things outside
of a relationship with Him, then you’re going to be disappointed. And
you will never experience the peace He offers… that peace that goes
beyond your understanding.
Now to be clear, living in a relationship with Jesus does not
necessarily change the circumstances of your life. But what it does do
is, it changes you. It changes who you are, it changes your outlook on
life, it changes how you respond to what life throws at you, it changes
how you cope with struggles, and it changes your focus from things that
are temporal and really unimportant to things that are eternal. Let me
show you what the Bible says about this…
2 Corinthians 5:17-19, 21 (NLT)
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ
has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself
through Christ… For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to
himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them… For God made
Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we
could be made right with God through Christ.
So the question I want to ask you this morning is, have you been made
right with God? If your answer’s yes, then that’s great. And you can
move forward in living the life you were created to live. But if your
answer’s no, then why not? What’s holding you back? Why not be made
right with God this morning? Because He’s not the one who’s putting it
off. He has already done everything necessary and has extended the
offer for you to live in relationship with Him. The ball’s in your
court. Will you accept what He has done for you, receive His
forgiveness, and choose to live the life you were meant to live in
relationship with Him?
In fact, let’s just take a few moments right now for you to think about
this and respond appropriately. I’m going to pray a prayer, and if you
simply repeat it silently where you are. In fact, I’m just going to ask
for everyone to close their eyes for a minute. If you’re here and you
want to experience this newness of life and begin this relationship
with God this morning, then you can pray something like this…
Jesus, I want to know you. I choose this day to follow You, to love
You, and to live for Your purposes. I want to accept your gift of
forgiveness, and I ask you to change me from the inside out. Make me a
new person with a new outlook on life and a new hope for a future with
You. Help me to place my faith and my trust in You, and lead me from
this moment on, I pray. Thank you.
If you prayed that prayer, then you need to let someone know about it.
You can tell me, or the person you came with today. But tell someone
about the decision you’ve made.
Perhaps someone here thought about praying along, but you decided not
to. Maybe you feel like you need to think about it a bit more. And
that’s fine. Think about it. But don’t neglect it, and don’t put it off
indefinitely. It’s far too great a decision to do that. And if you have
questions or want some further help, then talk to me or another
follower of Jesus. We’d love to help you any way we can. Okay?
If you want to discover Real Peace, it all begins by living in
relationship with Jesus. And once that’s taken care of, you can move on
to these other suggestions…
that God is in control.
God is in control, from
beginning to end. And ultimately, His plans will succeed. Now, not
everything that happens in life is what He desires. We live in a
broken, fallen world, and things go wrong. But God is in control. And
even the things that happen that aren’t His desire, He’s able to take
them and work them out for the good. And one day, His plan will be
A few minutes ago, we looked at a verse where Jesus said…
John 16:33 (NLT)
“But take heart, because I have overcome the
Jesus said that He has overcome the world. How did He do that? Well, He
did that through His death, in which He conquered sin and its power,
and through His resurrection in which He conquered death and its power.
Jesus has conquered both sin and death, and so with Him on our side,
there’s no reason to fear.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin
afresh each morning.
He’s in control, He loves us, He’s merciful, He’s faithful, and we can
trust Him. And all of that leads me to conclude, we can have peace.
3. Live with a
Let’s do a little
comparison, shall we? What are the values of the world?
Greed, pride, looking out for number one, what’s in it for me, how can
I get ahead, what will bring me pleasure, I deserve to be happy even if
it makes you unhappy, he who dies with the most toys wins.
So what’s the Biblical value-system?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, give generously,
seek holiness before happiness, your greatness is measured by how you
serve others, Love God and His Word, and express His love to others.
Do you see the difference? In the world’s value system is me-centered.
I want what brings me the most pleasure, brings me the most power,
brings me the most prestige. It’s all about me. No wonder peace, as
well as joy and happiness and purpose, is so hard to find.
But the Bible’s value system is outward focused. In fact, it was summed
up pretty well in the first sentence of the book “The Purpose Driven
Life.” It was a year ago this weekend that we began our 40 Days of
Purpose campaign based on that book. And do you remember the first
“It’s not about you.”
~ Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life
One of the greatest characters in all of history is General William
Booth. Back in the year 1865, General Booth began what was called the
Christian Revival Association, which sought to reach out to the poorest
and neediest of the city of London, including alcoholics, criminals,
and prostitutes. General Booth had a vision for sharing the love of
Jesus with them and bringing them into relationship with Him. And he
had a particular passion for meeting the practical needs of these
people. And so he began to get involved in social work, such as opening
up soup kitchens, as another way of bringing people to Jesus.
That was how the Christian Revival Association began. Before long, the
name was changed to the East London Christian Mission, and when they
began operating beyond East London, they changed the name again to The
Christian Mission. And then in 1878, there was one more name change… to
The Salvation Army. By 1882, The Salvation Army has a presence in
fourteen different countries, including Canada. And it has continued to
expand to well over a hundred countries today, as it continues to reach
out with the love of Jesus to the poorest and neediest of our society.
Well, General Booth served as the first General of the Salvation Army
for 34 years, until his death in 1912. And as he aged, he became an
invalid. His eyesight failed him, and one year he was in such bad
health that he was unable to attend the Salvation Army Convention in
London. So somebody suggested that General Booth send a telegram or a
message to be read at the opening of the convention. And he agreed to
So when the convention began, and the thousands of delegates were
seated, the emcee announced that General Booth would not be able to be
present because of failing health and eyesight. Obviously, there would
have been a lot of people there hoping to meet him, so there was great
disappointment at the news. But things brightened up a little bit when
the emcee announced that General Booth had sent a message to be read at
the opening of the first session. So the emcee opened the message and
began to read:
Dear Delegates of the Salvation Army Convention:
Signed, General Booth.
General Booth knew the secret of Real Peace. He knew that to experience
Real Peace, he needed to have a biblical value system which included a
heart for others.
Lord, let me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray,
My prayer shall be for others.
Others, Lord, yes, others;
Let this my motto be.
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.
Luke 6:31 (NLT)
Do to others as you would like them to do to
Mark 12:30-31 (NLT)
And you must love the Lord your God with all
your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The
second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other
commandment is greater than these.”
4. Pray about
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray
about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has
done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we
Do you see the connection between prayer and peace? I want you to
underline the words, “pray about everything”. I’ve heard people say
that God wouldn’t be interested in the details of their lives. They say
He’s got more important things to do than answer their prayers. But God
welcomes you to talk to Him about everything. Absolutely everything.
Remember what the old hymn says?
"O, what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear;
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer."
God listens to the prayers of His people, and He responds. He doesn’t
always answer the way you’d like or expect, but He hears your prayers,
He’s aware of your concerns, He knows the best way to respond, and you
can trust Him.
You know, one of our problems… one of the reasons peace can be so
elusive… is because our thoughts can be so negative. Dr. Elinore
Kinarthy says that…
“The average person has more than two hundred negative thoughts a
day—worries, jealousies, insecurities, cravings for forbidden things,
etc. Depressed people have as many as six hundred. You can’t eliminate
all the troublesome things that go through your mind, but you can
certainly reduce the number of negative thoughts.”
~ Dr. Elinore Kinarthy in Homemade, Sept., 1988
And I have a suggestion on how you can do that. I can tell you how to
reduce the number of negative thoughts: Pray about them. Turn your
worries into prayer.
Let me give you an example. Instead of saying something like, “Lord
knows my finances are a mess.” You could pray something like this:
“Lord, you know my finances are a mess. Please help me see where I can
go or what I can do to straighten them out.”
Or, “Lord, you know I’m battling depression. Please help me get out of
this, either by taking it away or helping me find someone who can help
me find a way out.”
Get the idea? Pray about it. Turn your worries into prayer. But don’t
just pray about your worries. Pray also about the things you’re
thankful for… and praise God for the ways He answers your prayers.
Because you can find peace in the fact that God has been active and
moving in your life. That’s a good thing.
So pray about everything, good and bad. It’ll help you find peace in
5. Plan ahead,
while trusting God’s guidance.
So many of the problems
people have could be so easily taken care of if they’d simply plan
ahead. That wouldn’t take care of everything, but it would take care of
a lot. You’d certainly have a lot less stress about the unknown. You
wouldn’t be nearly as anxious about finances, if you had a plan. You
wouldn’t have so many scheduling conflicts within your family, if you’d
plan ahead. You wouldn’t be stressed out by deadlines, if you’d plan
ahead. It really is that simple. And that’s Biblical…
1 Corinthians 4:2 (NLT)
Now, a person who is put in charge as a
manager must be faithful.
You are a manager of the time and treasure that has been entrusted to
you. So be a good manager… plan ahead. Paul also wrote…
Ephesians 5:15-17 (NLT)
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like
fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity
in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the
Lord wants you to do.
It’s Biblical to be wise and plan ahead when deciding what to do with
our time and how to spend our money and how to raise and build our
families. But there is a balance to that. The balance is that, no
matter what we plan, God is the one who’s ultimately in control. We
established that earlier. It says in the book of Proverbs…
Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)
We can make our plans, but the Lord
determines our steps.
We plan as best as we can. But if those plans fall through, then we
don’t despair. Because we know the Lord determines our steps. The issue
here is not to stop planning for the future, but to plan with the
Lord’s purposes in mind. And when our plan fails, His plan prevails.
6. Live in
This is a no-brainer. I
mean, think how it worked in your family. When you disobeyed your
parents, was there peace in the family? Hardly. Because disobedience
brings strife and tension, and can damage the relationship.
Or how about an officer of the peace? He’s there to maintain law and
order. And as long as people obey the rules, there’s peace.
Living in obedience to your heavenly Father has the same results. Sin
hampers your relationship with God, but obedience brings peace, and you
can enjoy the favour of God that He promises to those who obey Him.
So if you want peace, live in obedience. Peter wrote…
1 Peter 1:2 (CEV)
God the Father decided to choose you as his
people, and his Spirit has made you holy. You have obeyed Jesus Christ
and are sprinkled with his blood. I pray that God will be kind to you
and will keep on giving you peace!
7. Keep Heaven
Life can be messy.
There’s no denying that. We have our struggles. We all experience all
kinds of difficulties. We’ve all got junk that we’ve got to cope with.
But that’s okay, because it’s temporary. So even when our world is in
uproar, we can live in peace because we know this isn’t all there is.
1 Peter 1:6 (NLT)
So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy
ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a
This “wonderful joy ahead” that Peter is talking about is Heaven. There
are no problems in Heaven, no valleys, no dark days. And all of us who
have entered into a relationship with Jesus have that to look forward
Philippians 3:20-21 (NLT)
But we are citizens of heaven, where the
Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return
as our Saviour. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them
into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he
will bring everything under his control.
How’s that for good news? I mean, I’m in no rush to get there, but it’s
going to be great when I do.
So how about you? Are
you living in the peace of God? If not, why not? Is there something in
the way? Perhaps something we talked about here this morning? How are
you doing on these seven things? Does one or more of these hit a button
with you? If so, can you start to put it into practice today? Because
if you do, I believe you’ll be able to say right along with the
Psalm 4:8 (NLT)
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you
alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
source - Finding the Peace of God in Unsettling Times by Brian La Croix]