The Lord Is at Hand (Philippians 4:5-7)
Topic: Philippians Scripture: Philippians 4:5–4:7
First Scripture Reading: Isaiah 46:1-13
Second Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:19-34
Sermon Text: Philippians 4:5-7
The peace we have in this life is rooted in the peace we have with God. The gospel assures us that through faith in Christ, we are no longer enemies of God. We believe that he died for our sins, and in doing so he propitiated the wrath of God. He also fulfilled all the requirements of the law, so that we now stand before God forgiven, holy, and righteous. We have peace with God. He is our Father, and we are his children. When we pray, we approach God in the Son and by the Holy Spirit, so we can be assured that he hears and answers our prayers. We can rest in the sure knowledge that he who clothes the grass of the fields and feeds the birds of the air will also care for all our needs. Sinclair Ferguson writes:
It is only when we want to take our lives out of the Father’s hands and have them under our own control that we find ourselves gripped with anxiety. The secret of freedom from anxiety is freedom from ourselves and abandonment of our own plans. But that Spirit emerges in our lives only when our minds are filled with the knowledge that our Father can be trusted implicitly to supply everything we need. (The Sermon on the Mount, p. 144)
1. For review, read Philippians 4:4. What does it mean to “rejoice in the Lord always”? What does true joy in the Lord look like in our daily lives? How does it affect our worship?
2. What is the significance of the phrase “the Lord is at hand” in Philippians 4:5? How should knowing that Jesus will return and renew all things affect our “reasonableness”? How should it affect our prayers?
3. Read through Matthew 6:19-34. What are some of the reasons Jesus says are the causes of our anxiety? What does he, our Great Physician, prescribe to relieve our anxiety?
4. What is the connection between prayer and the command to not be anxious in Philippians 4:6? What are your usual approaches to dealing with anxiety? Why is it important that we pray “with thanksgiving” when we go before God?
5. Why does the “peace of God” surpass “all understanding” (Philippians 4:7)? In what sense does God’s peace guard us?
6. In preparation for next week, read Philippians 4:8-9. What does Paul command in these verses? How do you think adopting these virtues in your thought life would affect your daily life?