Sermon Study.

I take fairly extensive notes most Sundays when the sermon is on. The trouble is that if you just look at the sermon, and then don’t go back and analyze it, you are selling yourself short. You should search the scriptures to see if what the preacher said was true.

I attend a Bapticostal church. They have guest speakers, from a tradition where both husband and wife are pastors. The sermon was given by Alex Sweeney, from Melbourne and Nashville.

The sermon text was Philippians 4. I’ve put my comments in [square brackets].

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is [c]near. 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 [d]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Phillipians 4:4-7.

From my notes:

Satan works through fear and anxiety. We are not to be driven that way. We are not to just say “have more faith”.

Satan comes with thoughts of fear, but God says we are not to have a Spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7 — NASB says a spirit of timidity or cowardliness) but…

Instead we are not to be anxious about anything: bills, sickness, estranged relationships, children who have fallen away from the Lord, but in everything with prayer, supplication and thanksgiving… you cannot be thankful and anxious at the same time.

Give thanks to God then pray and petition, instead of desperation and fear. and then the peace of God will be with you regardless of the storm you find yourself in and you will not fear because God’s peace will transcend your understanding.

But, instead of being different and having this peace, we are just as fearful and anxious as the world. So what to do?

CRY OUT

[Alex says men fear crying. — and I’d say she’s wrong. We don’t fear crying. We are more likely to be wrathful, and in this time we fear the cops being called if we say what we think — and we suppress our emotions — again, in my experience, that is a way to survive in a workplace where a lack of positivity can get you sacked. ]

But we have a heavenly father who wants us to talk about how we feel. The saints of God cried to God. So should we. There will be days that you can only intercede with your tears. Our tears are known to God and recorded, for he sees the heart and the motivation that leads us to weep

And we should weep with those who weep.

APPEAL TO HIS NATURE

Pray first. Don’t whine to your friends, or blog, or use socail media. Make your first reaction to pray. Appeal to the nature of God. Do not let the enemy distract you from this.

Most people are ignorant of God, and fall for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6 — [note that the second half of the verse says that if pastors and priests do not teach the truth, then God will leave them]). Do not believe the lies of this world [and the lies they tell about God.]

When we look at things from God’s position, the lies of this world become clear. God pardons our inquities, saves our lives from the pit, heals our diseases, and crowns us with love and compassion (Psalm 103:2 -8).

REMEMBER

Recall what God has done. Do not recall the bad you have done — the things that God has blotted out of his book, and we need not remember. The world would remind us of these things.

Recall instead the testimonies of people of faith. The words of those written in the Bible. The faithful witness of our brothers. If God did it for them, he can do it for us.

Write down the daily things that he has done for us, for he is good: the quiet blessings. Remember that even the seasons and cycles of day and night are a covenant that was made, and God is faithful in this.

ENLARGE

The more you focus on an issue the bigger it becomes. The more I focus on Christ the less it matters… are we making our circumstances greater than God? Is not God much greater than our context and circumstances? We should not focus on experience and feelings.

We should not focus on ourselves and on how we have been defeated. Such people betray this in their speech — they are negative [black pill] in their conversation.

SING.

Singing is a positive choice to praise God. It is when you sing despite how you are feeling, in depression, anxiety, adversity, fear. This saying to God that you trust him despite what is happening to you (Isaiah 44:1) . It is the sacrifice of praise. it can only be given here: in this life. In the next life we will not suffer depression, anxiety or fear. Our tears will be wiped away.

People are watching your witness, not in times of prosperity, but in times of trial.

Do not waste the time we have to choose to worship. We are not to sit in fear and shame and cowardice. We are the children of God. And it is him whom we should praise.

Sermon notes, (Alex Sweeney)

Daybook

This is eclectic. Some people may wonder why I avoid cereals and grains in general. This is why.

I said this would be eclectic.

The sermon today was powerful, on anxiety. This is not from that. It is from another pastor in my town, and what he put up is important and wise.

We can often think of battles in life being the situations that happen around us and to us. Yet there is a powerful, unseen battle in life – that of our thoughts. Even long after situations have passed, fears, doubts, worries, anger, and fantasy continue to swirl around and occupy our thoughts. Thoughtfulness is good, but thoughts can also overtake and overwhelm us. David “wrestles” with his thoughts. They seem to be whispering to him that God has forgotten him (“Will you forget me forever?” Psalm 13:1). They weigh him down and bring pain (“How long must I…have sorrow in my heart?”)
Jesus has come to redeem us – and that includes our thoughts. David wrestles his sorrowful thoughts to the ground by remembering God’s unfailing love (“But I trust in your unfailing love…” Psalm 13:5). God’s love fills his heart with joy (“…my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” Psalm 13:5b-6). So, we wrestle our wrong thoughts to the ground by speaking the truth of the gospel to them – of Jesus’ unfailing love.

Azriel Gray (Pastor) Grace Bible Church, Facebook.
Tomahawk Track.

Today’s reading, if you follow the revised lectionary, contains this:

Psalm 126
1When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3The LORD has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.

4Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
6Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.

Revised Common Lectionary, PCUSA Missions Agency.

One of the applications from today’s sermon is to not recall the things that we did, but the things that God has done. The mercies in our lives. The daily reliability of this world. The witness of nature. Look not at our own lives, but at God’s.

And praise him for his bounty, choosing the real over the fake, labeled healthy.