- Sermon Notes
Head in the Clouds:
Finding Joy and Peace in Jesus
Illus. Catch and Crash
There are so many directions a person can look in their life. Ways to focus your attention and shape how you see the world. Where your focus lies is going to define your perspective, and your approach.
This morning, I want to explore a passage that reminds us to keep our head in the clouds, that is to say, focused on the things above (Colossians 3:2). There are so many earthly things to occupy our minds and hearts, but if we want joy and peace in our lives, we need to turn our attention to the source of those things!
Read: Philippians 4:4-8
This is such an encouraging verse, with depth of meaning and application for us in each day of our lives. As we explore this passage together, I pray that our minds and hearts would raise their focus higher and higher, towards the one who can gives all that we need, and more!
I. There’s joy in Jesus
• We start with a powerful command! “Rejoice in the Lord, always…” Paul even ventures to say it again! This is a pretty clear and emphatic statement!
• Joy is endemic in the body of Christ! It is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and meant to be evident in a Christians life.
• Joy is compelling, it’s life giving, it is a sign that there is something deeply right happening in a person’s life!
Illus. Like soda!
• It shows that you’ve been through a process, that you’ve changed. You’ve been filled with something new! Joy should set us apart. Joy is a product of Jesus’ work in our lives!
Romans 12:10-12 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
• Now, you may think I am saying that all Christians need to be bubbly, breezy, cheesy, and overly happy all of the time; like a camp counselor or a youth pastor. That is not quite it!
• It’s easy to equate joy with happiness or giddiness, because joy can cause those things, or enhance those things, and it often does. It is something more than that.
Illus. Like carbonation
• You may not be as sweet as someone else, but that does not mean you lack joy. Joy can be stoic, joy can be simple, joy can even exist in sadness.
• Happiness is fleeting and unstable emotion. It comes and goes, sometimes unpredictably. If the words were “Be happy always, again I say, be happy!” Most of us would utterly fail every day! Not to mention how fake that would seem to the world.
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
• Christians are permitted and encouraged to experience a wide range of emotions, and yet called to joy, always. This is because joy runs deep, and is born from the faith and hope that is found in Jesus!
• Joy is an undercurrent, it’s a transformation, it permeates every other expression and emotion. It’s the antidote to despair.
Illus. My Joy
• Joy can be a blazing fire that lights a celebration, a hearth that warms you in the cool winter morning, or even a small ember just hot enough to spare you from freezing. The marker of joy isn’t the intensity, it’s the persistence.
• It’s appropriate for there to be different expressions.
• The most important factor in joy, is recognizing the source. “Rejoice in the Lord always”.
• Joy is not a product of your circumstance, it is a gift from God! It is a quality that is generated in your relationship with Jesus! He is the source of joy. Find joy in Christ, and your circumstance will not overcome that joy!
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
• When you start to shift the attention of your mind and heart toward Heaven, toward Christ, it becomes clear how a person can live with constant joy.
• Your salvation is greater than your circumstance. There is a lot that can happen to a person in this life, and one can easily be broken, but if you are able to hold on to the hope that Jesus offers –something greater than all of this—then joy can be found!
Psalm 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may clast for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
• We will still have difficulty, some to greater degrees than others. But if we can manage to get our headspace trending toward God’s good Throne, we can have joy, and be joy throughout trials.
II. Lay your worries down
• Next I’d like to turn our attention the verse that says “Be anxious for nothing…” Another bold and broad encouragement.
• Most of us have felt anxious before, worried about something in our lives. It doesn’t always feel like much of a choice. So the advice, “don’t be anxious about anything” could fall flat.
• Thankfully, we are given more. We have a tactic presented to us to deal with these worries, an answer for what we do instead.
• As an aside, this is a feature I love about scripture. Just as often as it tells you what not to do, it tells you what to do instead.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
• Reach out to God about your anxieties, your worries and concerns. Talk to Him, ask of Him. Share these things with Jesus.
• Why? We do this because it honors God, it builds relationship with Him, and it ministers to us!
• It’s an opportunity for us to talk to that source of hope and joy, and ideally be reminded in the process that He is above it all! It’s a way for us to expose our minds and hearts to the right perspective.
Illus. Crocodiles last night!
• We should be open with our Father about these things and give Him the chance to dispel it with the truth of the Gospel and the truth of His love for us.
• And this is a repeated process. We continually must give these things to the Lord.
1 Peter 5:7 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
• As Pastor Samuel has taught before that word for cast implies continually doing so, even as the worry tries to return to us.
• So, we reach out to the Lord in everything. Now, while we pray and request, we must also bring thanksgiving!
• It’s an important part of the recipe because it brings praise to God where praise is definitely due, and it also servers to set our mind on the right things.
• So, we lay our worries down, and instead grab hold of the one who is near (Philippians 4:5), trusting and hoping and refocusing our minds and hearts.
III. Accept the peace He offers
• This next part may be my favorite verse in this passage. It’s full of power, mystery, and wisdom. It’s a key piece to the puzzle we are putting together.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
• Let’s unpack that! This verse tells us that there is a peace that is from –of– God. And it’s a transcendent peace. It rises above and beyond our understanding.
• This is the peace we need! It acts as a shield for our hearts and minds. Protecting us from being consumed by anxiousness, preserving our joy in any trial.
• If we are walking prayerfully and gratefully with the Lord, this peace is available to us! But when God offers it, we need to be willing to receive it.
Illus. My last audition
• I’m not always so willing to accept the peace God gives, though. We can criticize it, and reject it, instead of letting it take hold.
• It can be easy to reject the peace of the Lord when it doesn’t make sense to us, assuming that it doesn’t make sense at all. You may even be tempted to read that into this passage.
• His peace Huperecho (the Greek) our understanding: surpasses, goes beyond, transcends. It isn’t that it is nonsensical, it’s that it goes above and beyond it. Beyond what we can see right in front of us.
• It is not illogical to accept this peace, it is the most reasonable thing to do, in fact!
Illus. Don’t worry, everything will be okay
• When the Lord offers us peace and hope, we can trust that He can substantiate that comfort. He is the one we can trust when He tells us not to worry.
• It’s another opportunity for us to keep our minds and hearts planted where they belong. Our focus and trust should be surrendered to Jesus!
IV. Dwell on the good
• The final section of this passage drives us to the point.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
• This is a wonderful list of things worth thinking about, and there is are wealth of things in God’s created world that carry one or two of these qualities.
• It’s healthy and helpful to think about them. To fill your mind and heart with light and good.
• This doesn’t mean you can never think about any of the difficult or ugly things in this world. It doesn’t mean ignore reality.
• What good are Christians as bringers of the Gospel, the truth, our hope, if we are all a delusional mess?
• The question isn’t what do you ever consider, the question is, what do you dwell on? Because let’s face it, we often have a tendency to get stuck on the bad.
Illus. Negativity bias
• We don’t need to do that, we have hope and joy and peace because the Lord is near to us!
• Now, of all the things to dwell on, and there are many. Nothing can capture all of these attributes expect the one that transcends all of creation! We should dwell on thoughts of the Lord!
Hebrews 12:2 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
• If you want to see joy and peace featured in your life, you need to set your heart and mind on Jesus.
• In doing so, you may at first look foolish to the world, like you have your head in the clouds. But if you are persistent, time will reveal the value, wisdom, and impact of that focus.
• Let us commit ourselves to dwell on Christ, on the things of the Lord. Let us accept His peace, and be filled with true joy!
• Let’s live our lives in such a way that people ask, “what are you looking at?” And we can point to Christ as the answer!
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.