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The Christian Answer to Anxiety (Philippians 4:6-13)

Dr Daryl Miller, October 23, 2016
Part of the The Positive Message of Christianity series, preached at a Sunday Morning service

SUNDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 23
Title: The Christian Answer to Anxiety
Text: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phil. 4:6).
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:6 - 13
Introduction
Anxiety is a painful uneasiness of mind over an anticipated ill. It produces worry and disquietness and robs peace of soul and any sense of tranquility. It takes a life, otherwise joyous and secure, and turns it into a prison of turmoil and distress.
Perhaps there is no other sin that more frequently appears in the lives of Christians than the sin of anxiety. The Bible has the answer to anxiety?—?it is an answer that confronts us with the exact image of what we are and with the means by which we may become what we ought to be. The answer is not simple, but it is one that will work if we will only accept it.
I. Communion with God.
The Bible tells us “Be careful for nothing” (Phil. 4:6).
A. Communion with God makes you mindful of God’s blessings.
1. God’s blessings have met your needs every time before.
2. God’s blessings should remove self-pity and worry.
B. Communion with God affords you the privilege of request.
1. Through request, you may unburden your soul. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
2. Through request, you may obtain God’s help. This is illustrated in Moses, Jonah, and Paul in prison.
C. Communion with God brings peace.
1. This peace is divine peace, and thus abiding (Phil. 4:7). Christ says, “My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27).
2. God’s peace is a guarding peace that “shall keep your hearts and minds” (Phil. 4:7). By using a military metaphor, Paul represents this peace as guarding their hearts as a garrison holds a fortress. At every inlet into their soul, this peace stands like an armed sentinel, keeping out all disturbing influences.
3. God’s peace is an indescribable peace “which passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7).
II. Control of thoughts (Phil. 4:8).
You can go to bed at night with nothing physically wrong and lie awake hour after hour worrying about tomorrow, about what someone said, or about personal prestige.
A. Control that limits thoughts to reality reduces anxiety. When the Bible says “whatever is true,” it excludes all things speculative?—?things that “might have been” or “might occur.”
B. Control limits thoughts to honorable things. Thinking of honorable things excludes unworthy words or deeds of others.
C. Control limits thoughts to righteousness. “Whatever is true” refers to thoughts that are in accordance with eternal and unchangeable righteousness.
D. Control limits thoughts to purity. This excludes a whole area of degrading and disturbing thoughts.
E. Control limits thoughts to that which produces love. There is no room for thoughts of hate, spite, or retribution when your thoughts are limited by love.
F. Control limits thoughts to that which is admirable. Things that are winning and attractive are always of a “good report.”
III. Consistency in living (Phil. 4:9).
You may pray and you may control your thoughts and still be eaten within by anxiety because you know your life is inconsistent with your profession.
A. Consistency in living imparts a clear conscience. “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day’?” (Acts 23:1).
1. A clear conscience can come only when you are faithful.
2. A clear conscience removes all guilt feelings.
B. Consistency in living is true to Christ’s teachings (v. 9).
1. Christ’s teachings alone can develop self-respect.
2. Christ’s teachings alone can guide aright. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105).
C. Consistency in living points others to Jesus.
1. Others who would be on your hands.
2. Others whose salvation gives you an occasion for rejoicing.
IV. Contentment in God’s will (Phil. 4:11?–?12).
Much of our anxiety grows out of our inability to be content in God’s will. We are not content with where it leads or with what it calls for us to do.
A. God’s will may not meet all of your desires. “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound” (v. 12).
1. All of your desires are not necessities.
2. Your desires, if met, may result in chaos.
B. God’s will may call for personal sacrifice (v. 12). For Paul to be content in God’s will meant for him to be content in personal sacrifice. Not only food, but other aspirations of life had to be surrendered. For instance, he had to give up his life as a Pharisee.
1. Call for sacrifice of noble ideals that are not God’s will.
2. Call for sacrifice of time and talent in Christian service.
C. God’s will is always best. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
1. God’s will leads to fewer problems. The person who drops out of God’s will is the one who has real problems.
2. God’s will is the will of a loving Father.

V. Confidence in Christ (Phil. 4:13).
A great deal of our anxiety stems from our failure to realize that we are not as important as we think we are. After all, God is in charge, and we are only instruments.
A. Confidence in Christ renews self-determination (v. 13).
1. Confidence is necessary for success.
2. Confidence is necessary for self-respect.
B. Confidence in Christ removes the fear of failure (v. 13).
1. Fear results from a lack of trust in God.
2. Fear results from a high estimation of self.
C. Confidence in Christ renders yourself God’s instrument (v. 13).
1. God’s instrument to whom his strength is imparted.
2. God’s instrument through whom his power may be made known.
Conclusion
When nothing whereon to lean remains,
When strongholds crumble to dust,
When nothing is sure but that God still reigns,
That is just the time to trust.

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Philippians 4:6-13

6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 10But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (KJV)

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