By Gloria Li
17 Feb. 2013 Sunday
|Sermon: Victory over worry through prayer||video||audio||ppt||doc|
|Worship song: How Great Is Our God||video||audio||ppt||txt|
|Worship song: Still||video||audio||lyric||txt|
|Worship song: You Are My All In All||video||audio||lyric||txt|
|Worship song: 我要向高山举目||video||audio||lyric||txt|
Pastor Jessica’s Opening Prayer:
Lord, thank you so much for the day you have made for all of us. Thank you that we can get together to praise and worship you. Lord, thank you so much for giving each of us such a great holiday that we can get together with our family and friends and enjoy our holiday. Lord, thank you so much for strengthening each of us to face the New Year, the new life. Lord, we know that, even so, sometimes in our minds, we know that you are King of kings and Lord of lords, but there are still some things that disturb us and make us worry. So we ask you today to please come to us, please let us stand up and rejoice, and let us know that when we lift our eyes, we know that our hearts come from the One who made the heaven and the earth. So Lord, thank you so much for giving us the chance to meditate on your words. Let us think about our Lord and let us know that we can come to you and give our prayer requests to you. And you will give us a peaceful heart and you will be with us. Lord, today I want to lift up all my brothers and sisters here in Your hands. Let us know that You are Lord and You will be with us wherever we are and in whatever we are facing. And today please reveal yourself to us. Let us know that You are Lord, You are God, and you are the One controlling everything. And you are the One who wants to bring peace and joy to all of us. Lord, we also want to lift up this new year and put it in Your hands. And be with us always and let us stand firmly in You, in Jesus Christ. Lord, we want to lift up the one who is preaching, Gloria, and the worship team and the serving team into your hands. Be with us. Let us be strong in You. Let us feel Your presence, Your glory. We pray all of this is Jesus’ name, Amen.
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:6-7
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Good morning, everyone. Would you please join me in a short prayer?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for guiding us to this New Year and to your temple to worship you together. God, we know you are the center of our lives. And may your name be exalted and glorified through us. God, may your name be gloried through our service today, and may you use me to be your mouth to deliver your words. And may your words comfort anyone who is weak in this sanctuary. May your joy and peace fill our hearts today. And we can learn how to rely on you to get rid of our worries in our daily life. Lord, may your Holy Spirit come upon us and uphold the service today. May your Spirit work in our hearts and we can have a pure heart to listen to your words. May your words become our light and guide us in the following week, in the New Year. We pray in your name. Amen.
My immigration worries while traveling to the US
First, I want to share a story, my own story. I remember when I went to the
A brother worries about cancer
Even though you are a worrier, you hate being a worrier. You want to be a peaceful person. This is what we are going to talk about. As we know, many people are worriers around us in our society. We worry about many things in our lives, like health. We worry about getting some illness. I remember I went to a hospital to baptize a brother on February 5th, before the Spring Festival. He had liver cancer. After I baptized him, I encourage him with these two verses in Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything you can trust in God, and God will give you peace.” He told me, “If I say that I have no worry, it is a lie.” So he was concerned about his condition. He was worried that he might not recover.
Everyone has worries in his/her life
This is what we usually worry about. Perhaps we worry that the disease is a cancer. Perhaps we worry that we are going to die. And we also worry about other things like house, work, study, love, money, future, and ministry. We worry about what will happen tomorrow. Some people are leaders in the church. Maybe you are a leader of the small group. Maybe you are a team leader. Maybe you are a website leader. We worry about how I can be a good leader at the church, or how to start a new plan for the New Year, or how to nurture the members in our group. Some people leave the church. How do we minister to the people who are still in? I cannot list all the things that we tend to worry about. So many things we have to worry about. But we know that we have some concerns in life.
Paul was in Prison, but He Didn’t Worry!
Let's see Paul's instructions for overcoming worry from Philippians 4:4-7. The writer of this letter is the Apostle Paul. He was writing to encourage the believers in the city of Philippine: “Don’t worry about anything. Rejoice in the Lord always.” But where was Paul when he wrote this letter? He was in prison. Who has the right to worry about something? Who has the right to be sad? Paul does. Why? Because he was in prison at that time. He couldn’t know what would happen the next day. Would he die? Maybe, probably. How could he have such a positive attitude about life when he was in a difficult situation? How could he experience peace when he had plenty to worry about? Didn’t he worry about dying? Not at all. So he could say: “Don’t worry about anything. Rejoice in the Lord always.”
Why be Happy when there is SO much to Worry About?
He didn’t worry about every single thing. Did he have any reason to be happy? I don’t think so. But indeed, he was very happy. He rejoiced in the Lord always even though the situation looked so bad. Why? Because he presented all his requests to God and had faith in God. He knew that Jesus had overcome the world, God had a good plan for him, he was in God’s hand, his life was in God’s hand. He was controlled by God; no one could kill him unless God allowed it. So how about us? What is our reaction to our situation right now, to the things we worry about? Now let us look at what Paul says in these verses, so that we may learn the principles experiencing peace instead of worry, through prayer:
Rejoice in the Lord Always
First is the principle of rejoicing. Paul started by saying “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!” Many times in this letter Paul talked about joy and rejoicing. How could he be so happy when he was in prison? Earlier in this letter, he said that God was using his imprisonment to enable more people to hear the good news about Jesus Christ. So he was happy about that. We find that Paul’s greatest joy was being used by God to bring this good news to more people, even if it brought him pain and problems. Like Paul, we need an attitude of joy even when we face some difficulties.
Second is the principle of God’s presence: “The Lord is near.” What does it mean? What it means here is that Jesus is coming again and will bring His complete joy, His complete victory. And He’s never far away. Our Lord, our savior Jesus Christ has risen up again from the dead, and He is near, He is nearby, He is here, He is here ready to help you and me.
The third principle is “don’t worry.” Now Paul comes to the heart of matter about worrying in verse 6: “Do not be anxious about anything.” What does that mean? Paul tells us to present worrying as a response to the things we are concerned about. “But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Fourth is the principle of humble prayer. What should we do? Pray. Because the Lord is near, we can go to him at any time and turn our worries over to our God. Here prayer, petition and request, these all mean the same thing: simply asking God to help us with what we are worried about. We don’t make demands of God. We just humbly bring our worries to our God.
Fifth is the principle of thanksgiving. And Paul says to do this with thanksgiving. Take time, brothers and sisters, now, take time to really thank God for all his blessings, provisions, answers and for his salvation in Christ. We can give thanks for what God has really done for us, and for what he’s going to do for us. We are praying not just to get something from God, but also to give something to Him, praise Him, thank Him for all he has done for us in our lives. Thank Him, praise Him from the bottom of our hearts.
God’s Peace in place of our Worry
Sixth is the principle of God’s peace in place of worry. Then it comes to the promise, the result of prayer. In verse 7 we see, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” What a powerful promise. We can simply turn our worries over to God, and ask him specifically for the help we need. And God will give us peace that no one can completely understand, and this peace will control the way you think and feel. Do you want this peace? Do you want to get this peace from God, from the Creator, from the Lord Savior who saved us? Every day we need to make the choice between worry and peace. Now let’s consider the results of worry in our lives.
Result of Worry #1: Sickness
The first result is sickness. Worry can cause both psychological and physical illness. I think you will agree with this, if you worry about many things, you may be very depressed. If you worry about many things, you will maybe have some health problems.
Result of Worry #2: Loss of Joy
And number two is loss of joy. A worried person is an unhappy person, and you can get angry.
Result of Worry #3: Anger
If you are full of worry, you will get angry very quickly.
Result of Worry #4: Complaining attitude towards God and others
The fourth result is a complaining attitude toward God and others. When we worry about many things, we’ll complain to God. We may think God doesn’t love us, and doesn’t give us what we want. We’ll think our life is amess. Where is God? And Why doesn’t God help us? Why do others treat us in this way? We’ll ask so many questions.
Result of Worry #5: Guilt about displeasing God
The last result is guilt about displeasing God. Why do I say this? Because “Don’t worry”, “do not be anxious about anything” is a command from our God. It’s like the command, don’t kill others, don’t judge others. And we know that to disobey God’s command is a sin. Worry is a sin. We should be very serious about this. If we worry, we don’t obey God’s command, because God’s command to us is to not “be anxious about anything.” Whenever we worry, we are displeasing God. We are not trusting Him to take care of us and our needs. This hurts our relationship with God, and we feel guilty about that.
Result of Prayer #1: Good Health
Consider the results when we choose not to worry but to instead turn our worries over to God in prayer. The first result is good health, as Proverbs 17:22 says,” A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Result of Prayer #2: Greater Joy and a Supernatural Peace
Number two is great joy and supernatural peace. Paul says that “God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand.”
Result of Prayer #3: Gentleness and Peace in Dealing with Others
Number three is gentleness and peace in dealing with others. Instead of quickly getting angry, we’ll be able to deal with our situation and with other people peacefully.
Result of Prayer #4: Positive Attitude of Thankfulness
Number four is positive attitude of thankfulness. Instead of complaining, we’ll be thankful toward God and others.
Result of Prayer #5: Please God by Trusting Him
Number five is very important. If we choose not to worry, we’ll please our God. Instead of displeasing God with our worry, we honor and please God by trusting him. So we’ll enjoy a closer relationship with God.
Worrying versus Not Worrying
In summary, we can contrast the result of worry and not worrying in our lives by looking at this slide. You can see the results of worry and the results of not worrying. And take a minute to think about those questions. When you consider these results, what kind of life do you want to have? Full of worry or full of peace. What kind of person do you want to be? A worrier or a peaceful person? Think about these, contrast these results. And think about these and make a decision before our God.
No one wants to worry!
I think most of us would like to choose the latter. So how do we overcome worry and become a peaceful person? Of course, choosing peace over worry is not so easy .It’s hard even for me. I’m a pastor, I still worry about many things, I still commit this sin in my life. It’s not simply like turning a switch on or off. Let’s consider some specific steps on how we can put this into practice.
A Concrete Example
I want to use a concrete example. Suppose you have been assigned a very challenging project in your job. Naturally you have some concerns about this. Let’s use the principles we have learned from Paul’s words in Philippians 4 as a guide on how to respond to this.
First, apply the principle of rejoicing. Rejoice in the Lord. Take joy that God have given you this challenge, that he’ll help you deal with it. He’ll shine through you.
Second, apply the principle of God’s presence. The Lord is near, God is never far, he is always right beside you, and is ready to help you. He is a mighty God, he know what you need. He is able to help you, and he is willing to help you.
Third, apply the “don’t worry” principle, don’t be anxious about anything. Anything here means any part of this project that you tend to worry about. Identify every concern, either big or small that you have about this project, and decide that you’re not going to worry about it. Decide to say “No” to worry, to say “No” to worry.
Fourth, the principle of humble prayer. In every situation, be in payer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God. This means to take all concern, no matter ig or small turn them over to God in prayer. By doing this, you are turning your worries into your prayers, and trusting them in God. Whatever worries we have, they give a chance to practice humble prayer. Pray very specifically about every single concern that troubles your mind.
Fifth, apply the principle of thanksgiving. As we are praying, let’s not only ask God for the things we need, but also give thanks to God. Thank God for how He has helped us in past projects. Thank God for the people He has given you to work with. Thank Him that He has given you an important project to work on now. Thank Him in advance for how He will help you meet this challenge. Believe God is going to help you. Thank Him and praise Him from the bottom of our hearts.
Sixth, apply the principle of God’s peace in place of our worry. Receive the peace from God that transcends all understanding. Picture it just as the Word says. “God’s peace will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.
Satan wants us to worry
Peace through Prayer by God’s Power
You know, Satan is trying to shoot arrows of worry at us to trouble our heart and mind. These arrows are all those concerns about the project that you tend to worry about. But when you entrust those worries to God, God will guard your mind and your heart, and will protect you from Satan’s arrows. Claim God’s peace and take hold of it. You won’t be able to fully understand how it works because it’s beyond our understanding. But, you can trust God to take care of all of the potential problems and help you complete this project. By going through these steps, your worry will change into peace through prayer by God’s power.
Don’t worry about anything!
But brothers and sisters, your worries may be about something totally different. Maybe not a project at work, but something else. But if you want to stop worrying about anything, take these steps and apply them to your situation. How will you overcome your worry about finding a life partner? About finding a job? About making an important decision in your work? About a house problem? About a financial problem? About how to serve God? Whatever you tend to worry about you can follow these steps to experience God’s peace.
Make Prayer a Daily and Weekly Habit
We can also turn these steps into a weekly or daily habit. For example, how about every Sunday night, you look at the difficulties you may face and the things you tend to worry about. Then take some time to pray specifically about each one of these things. Turn them over to God and receive His peace about them. Also, as a daily habit, in the evening look at your next day. Do the same thing. Pray specifically about the challenges you’re facing the next day. Commit each one, specifically, to God.
Write down your worries and throw them away!
Another good habit is to take a paper and write down every worry that is on your mind. Write down
What if you never worried about a single thing ever again for the rest of your life?
Several days ago, I heard a sermon. The pastor asked a question during this sermon. “If today was my last day, what attitude would I have for today?” For me, I wish that I can always be a joyful person. Are you a joyful person? How do others see you: As a peaceful person or a worrier? And that pastor concluded by saying, “What if after the service is over, you walk out. And for the rest of your life until the day you die, you never worry about a single thing. Try to imagine what type of person you’d look like. Can you imagine how happy you’d be for the rest of your life? Can you imagine how many people would like you?” When I heard those words, my reaction was, “Yes, Lord. I want to be this type of person. I will not worry about every single thing for the rest of my life until the day I die. I want to be this type of person! Lord, save me. Please mold me to be this kind of person, and I can have supernatural peace from You. And I will never worry about every single thing. I can rejoice in You always in my own life until the day I die.”
Join in the Prayer Ministry and Stop Worrying
How about you? No matter how small it is, I encourage you to pray to God. To pray for yourself, to confess your sin of worry. Ask God for His forgiveness. Receive His peace through our Lord Jesus Christ. And we know that every Sunday at the end of the service we will make some announcements. And we know that almost every Sunday after the service we have a prayer team. Today I encourage you to come to the front after the service and a brother or sister from the prayer team to pray with you about your worries. And also, for our English fellowship, we have a prayer ministry every Wednesday night at church. And you can know the details: time, place at our information center. After the service, I encourage you to come to the prayer ministry to pray to God.
Let Prayer Replace Your Habit of Worry
Put everything in God’s hands. Pray for every single worry in your own life. Pray very, very specifically for each worry in your own life, in all the things you face. And I will also pray for you. May you experience the supernatural peace as the Apostle Paul has already experienced. May prayer become your habit instead of worry. May you experience the supernatural peace in Christ Jesus instead of worry. May God bless all of us. Let’s pray together.
A Prayer Against Worry
Dear Heavenly Father, we know many, many people who sit here in this sanctuary have many different worries. Even if I don’t know the worries that they are facing now, you, Almighty God, know. You know our weakness, Lord. I ask you, Lord, to come to us, come to our hearts. May you let us experience Your supernatural peace. Lord, may you help us get rid of all the worries in our own lives. Lord, may you shape us so that we may be peaceful people. Lord please help us. Please remove all the worries from our lives. May you help us rejoice in you always. May you help us have faith in You. May you help us believe that You are near. You are nearby. You are ready to help us. You are the God who is willing to help us. You are the God who has the power to help us. Lord, come to us. Holy Spirit, come to us. Our Trinity God, come to us. Change our minds, change our hearts so that we can follow you, we can act out Your command in our own lives. Lord, please come and transform us to be used by You. And let us enjoy the work and the life that you give us. Lord, comfort all the people who are experiencing difficulties, who have illnesses. May You become our Comforter. Let us know that our help comes from You, comes from the Creator who created the universe, comes from the Great God. Lord, help us remember this and apply this in our daily life. We pray all of this in Your name, Amen.
May God bless all those who follow His command and His words.