Sunday, January 31, 2010

#2) The Peace of God

Ask the congregation how they would define peace.
Peace – Cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissention.

Scripture has much to say on the subject of peace. Last week I spoke on the importance of being sensitive to sin and remaining in the Will of God. The result of being in His Will is being filled with light and keeping darkness out. We know God is light. Since Jesus is a part of the Trinity of God, we know he is light as well.

Scripture actually calls Jesus “peace.”

Eph 2:13-14
But now in A Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off 1 have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace,

Col 1:20
and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross;

We find peace in Christ because he IS peace. This peace has been made available to us through his blood. Without the blood of Christ, one cannot truly know peace.

Ask who is promised the peace of God.

Luke 2:14
"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

Ask how we can please God. (probably get different works for answers). Accept the answers but move on to the next point.

The only way to please God is to be in His Will. Last week we learned is Will is for us to be righteous. We also learned the only way to be righteous is through the Son.

Isa 64:6a
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;

Without Christ, nothing we do is clean or good. To really drive this point home, Isaiah uses the word ‎`ed (ayd);

OT:5708 ‎`ed (ayd); from an unused root meaning to set a period [compare OT:5710, OT:5749]; the menstrual flux (as periodical);

The literal translation used here means “and like rags used of menstruation.” Even our greatest works, when Christ is not the center, are like the rags used to catch the blood of a menstruating woman. On the bright side, when Christ is our focus, all our works become righteous because they are based in his love.

This goes back to Luke 2:14 as we read above. As long as we are in Christ, we are in the Will of God. As long as we are in the Will of God, we please God. As long as we please God, he promises us His peace in Christ.

Prov 3:13
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding.

Prov 3:17
Her ways are pleasant ways,
And all her paths are peace.

So long as a man walks in wisdom, he will find peace. We know that true wisdom comes from the Lord so as long as we remain in God and ask Him to direct our paths, we will be at peace.

Ask for some of the fruits of the Spirit.

Gal 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

Great messages can be taught on each of the fruits of the Spirit. Peace is no exception. A true believer should exhibit each and every one of the fruits.

Rom 8:29-30
or whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Rom 5:1
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

It is through our faith in Christ which we have peace. God has justified us. We are no longer found to be guilty of our sins. That alone should bring peace.

Not only has God given us peace in the area of salvation, He has also promised us peace in times of trouble.

John 14:27
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

There is only so much peace the world can offer us. One can find temporary peace in the ear of a compassionate person. This peace will soon subside. Christ offers a special peace that cannot be offered by the world.

Phil 4:13
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

While it may look like this verse is talking about doing the impossible as long as it is done in the name of Christ, it is actually speaking of peace.

Phil 4:9-14
The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

We can see that it is not speaking of jumping off cliffs in the name of the Lord. This would be testing God. We can also see it isn't talking about doing things that strengthen us in the name of the Lord. This would mean we can lift weights for Jesus. While we can certainly witness in the gym, it is not the power of God getting us through that last bench press.

Phil 4:6-7
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 comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We know it is God who strengthens us. If we look in Ephesians, we can see how it all works together.

Eph 3:13-17
Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;

Regardless of our situation, do not lose heart. Whether it be the tribulations of another or times of trouble for ourselves, remain at peace by the strength of God. Let the Holy Spirit work in our heart through faith so that we can be content. Be anxious for nothing. Christ can strengthen us to endure all hardships. He offers a peace that nobody else can offer and he wants to offer it to you.

(Perform invitation)

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