Worship VI Day 5 Raise A Hallelujah: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) What should I do when I start to worry?

2) How can God’s peace guard my heart and mind?

3) How can I always rejoice in the Lord?

Philippians 4:4-8

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.

Original Intent

1) What should I do when I start to worry?
Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians while imprisoned under house arrest, most likely in Rome (gotquestions.org.) The Philippians sent gifts of support to Paul through a church member. (Philippians 4:18) On his first trip to Philippi, Paul had been beaten and imprisoned for delivering a slave girl from the demons who helped her tell fortunes. (Acts 16-24) The Philippians were well acquainted with the tribulations Paul had faced for preaching Christ.  His injunction “not to worry” must have seemed amazing and nearly unfathomable, given his many troubles. He wrote in Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Author Alexander Maclaren points out how poignant this command must have been, coming from Paul: “And do you not think that advice of that sort, coming not from someone perched up on a safe hillock to the strugglers in the field below, but from a man in the thick of the fight, would be like a trumpet-call to them who heard it?” If Paul, who had more external cause for anxiety than most people, could purpose to pray instead of worry, what excuse do the rest of us have to not obey this command?

2) How can God’s peace guard my heart and mind?
In Philippians 4:7, Paul writes “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Paul’s original audience was the church at Philippi, a body made up of Greeks, Romans and some Jews (Bible.org.)  It was a town under Roman occupation.  John MacArthur points out the “term “shall guard” is a military term literally meaning “shall keep guard over, shall protect. The Philippians lived in a garrison town where Roman soldiers were stationed to watch out for Roman interests in that part of their world.  They knew what a sentry was, what a guard was, what a garrison was – a protector.”  Albert Barnes explains the verse implies “the mind would be guarded as a camp or castle is. It would be preserved from the intrusion of anxious fears and alarms.”  The Philippians understood when Paul said the peace of God would guard their hearts and minds that he meant God would be their protector from the enemies of want and worry.

3) How can I always rejoice in the Lord?
Author Charles John Ellicott explains the idea of rejoicing when he writes, “The original word is the word always used in classical Greek (see the corresponding word in Latin) for “farewell” (i.e., “Joy be with you!”). . . [and] the emphasis laid on it here, coupled with the constant references to joy in the Epistle, show that St. Paul designed to call attention to its strict meaning, and to enforce, again and again, the Christian duty of joy.”  Joy in the Lord was indeed a theme of the life and work of Jesus, as author John MacArthur notes, “It’s seventy times in the New Testament we’re told to rejoice.”   Author Chip Ingram suggests that joy was part of God’s plan to spread the Gospel when he says,Love was the early Christians’ marketing plan and their business card was joy.”  It would seem a difficult command to obey, considering the many trials and persecutions faced by the early church.  They often did not have much to rejoice about in terms of circumstance or possession.  Author John MacArthur explains joy is “based upon our relationship with the Lord, not our circumstances.  We are to rejoice in the Lord.  In other words, our joy is because of our privileged, permanent union with the Lord.  It transcends circumstances.”  We can rejoice in the Lord because He never changes, no matter what is happening in our lives or in the world around us.  We rejoice in our relationship with our Savior, not in what is happing to us in the moment.

Everyday Application

1) What should I do when I start to worry?
Truthfully?  It seems nearly impossible to obey the command in Philippians 4:6, not to worry about anything, but instead pray about everything.  I know if God requires it, He makes a way (Philippians 4:13) and the good news is I have improved…I don’t really sweat the small stuff anymore.  I am relatively laid back and flexible, able to handle the unexpected changes and setbacks that inevitably come.  But the big things?  The scary ones that make my heart skip a beat?  I plunge deep into worry when those hit before I even think to pray.  Ann Voskamp describes worry as “belief gone wrong. Because you don’t believe that God will get it right.  Peace is belief that exhales. Because you believe that God’s provision is everywhere —like air.”  I like this description because that is how I feel when I worry…like I am holding my breath, waiting for calamity to strike.  What a relief that exhale of peace is!  To trust that God has everything sorted out and under control is liberating.  When I feel anxiety washing over me, I should ask the Lord for help and trust in His plan and provision.  John Piper suggests we should pray with thankfulness, even for the hard things God brings us, “When we let our requests be made known to God like this—in the devotion of prayer, in many specific requests for help, with a heart that is thankful for everything God designs for us, the pleasures and the pain—then his peace will guard our minds and free us from anxiety in a way that defies mere rational explanation; it surpasses all understanding.”  I remind myself that even though praying instead of worrying can seem impossible, nothing is impossible with God’s help (Luke 1:37) The promise of God’s peace, and freedom from worry, are blessings I gladly welcome.

2) How can God’s peace guard my heart and mind?
I do not much enjoy surprises (unless I am reading a mystery novel.)  I prefer to know what is coming, how it will arrive, and what impact it will have on my life.  If I don’t know what’s going to happen, I tend to worry and obsess over the dozens of scenarios and outcomes that might occur.  In Philippians 4, the apostle Paul urges us not to worry about anything.  Instead, he says we should pray with thanksgiving, and promises that God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds when we do. When we pray and actively give God our cares and worries, He gives us His peace in return.  When we thank Him, we remind ourselves He is our Provider, the One who knows everything we need. (Matthew 6:31-34)  Trusting in Him to take care of everything instead of worrying about it gives us peace. (Isaiah 26:3)    A.W. Tozer notes, “Only as we have complete assurance that He is faithful may we live in peace and look forward with assurance to the life to come.”  When we trust God’s plans are best and are for our good no matter how our circumstances look or feel, that truth brings a peace which guards our hearts and minds. John MacArthur writes, “if you understand who your God is, if you can take every issue of life with a thankful heart as you pray and ask Him for deliverance, in the midst of it all, the promise of the Word is that God will give you peace.”  I know there will be surprises I can’t anticipate and plan for in my life, but I can find peace when I acknowledge God has everything under His control.

3) How can I always rejoice in the Lord?
When something difficult happens, it can shake you to your core.  It can feel like climbing out of the rubble of an earthquake.  When I had a miscarriage with our first pregnancy, this was how I felt.  When I looked up from my devastation, I found God there, holding me.  I was mourning my loss, but I was also enveloped in His grace and love.  I was so grateful for His care during that time.  I would not have said I was rejoicing, but looking back I would say my heart rejoiced in His love and tender care for me.  John MacArthur calls rejoicing “reckless abandonment to Jesus Christ in any circumstance.”  It’s just constantly saying, “Hey Lord, I’m yours, and I don’t understand what’s going on, but I’m so glad I belong to you.”  That was what I did in my time of sorrow.  I threw myself in His arms and let Him hold me and heal me. I go back to this core gratitude anytime I experience difficulties or find it hard to rejoice.  R. C. Sproul expresses it this way, “Even if God never gives us another blessing, what Jesus did on our behalf gives us more than a sufficient reason to rejoice.”  When it is hard to find joy, I start here, thanking God for His salvation, trying to fully appreciate what an amazing gift I have been given.  Then I bring to mind the many other blessings and promises I have from the Lord.  I remind myself how the Lord’s mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is great. (Lamentations 3:20-24) I start stacking truth upon truth, and soon I find I am rejoicing in the Lord.  I discover, as John MacArthur  says, “In my circumstances I have sorrow. In my relationship to Jesus, I have constant joy.”

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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