Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

12/10/2017 A.M.

 

Peace Peace Perfect Peace

Isaiah 9.6  John 14.26-27  Romans 5.1  Philippians 4.6-9

 

For three weeks... I’ve been working on a lesson on peace... I did my research... Had my notes... But when I sat down to write the sermon...It wouldn’t come together... Just wouldn’t jell... So I was forced to consider another subject.

 

As any preacher knows... There’s nothing as frustrating as trying to prepare and preach a sermon which you have forced into being without any Holy Spirit intervention.

 

First... Let me tell you a story that I understand is true. It speaks to us of wrong thinking that leads us from peace to fear.

 

After landing… The flight attendant explained time off the plane would be short... Less than 50 minutes... Everybody got off the plane except one gentleman. The pilot, seeing that the gentleman was blind, ask... “Sir would you like to get off to stretch your legs... We’ll be here for almost an hour.” “No thanks, but my dog would like to stretch his legs.” So the pilot wearing his traditional sunglasses takes the guide dog off the plane... through the gate and down the concourse. Fear took over as people ran to make arrangements for another flight.

 

The Holidays remind us of peace...And the One who came to bring us peace.

 

So... The first point we need to make is that Jesus is the answer to our peace.

 

It was prophesied that He would be the Prince of peace... Isaiah 9.6 reads... For to us a child is born...To us a Son is given... And the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor... Mighty God... Everlasting Father... Prince of Peace.

 

When the angels announced His birth, the messages was... Glory to God in the highest... Peace on earth... And good will toward men.

 

As Jesus prepared His disciples for His death and ultimate physical departure... John fourteen has Him saying to them and us... Peace I leave with you... My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

 

Well... What is this peace that we all want?

 

Webster says... It’s a state of tranquility... Freedom from civil disorder... Security...Harmony in our relationships with others... Contentment... Calm... Ease of heart and mind.

 

It’s interesting to note that the word peace occurs some 400 times in Scripture.

 

The Bible speaks of peace in many ways...

• Peace describes the serenity... The tranquility of perfect contentment.

• It’s used to describe a condition of rest for... Man... Animals... Plants... Even the elements... Jesus told the sea to be at peace.

• Peace is the lack of...Hostility... Fear... Anxiety... The absence of mental or emotional stress.

• Peace speaks of the absence of war...

• It speaks of a life free from sin and its guilt.

 

The Old Testament Hebrew word is Shalom...

Shalom was both a Jewish greeting and farewell.

It has a rich meaning... Implying a lack of conflict. It speaks of... Completeness... Soundness... Welfare... Peace... Success. It is used to wish the best for one’s wellbeing.

 

Judges 6.24 tells us that one of the names for God is Yahweh-Shalom…The God of Peace. In Isaiah 9.6... Jesus is seen as the prince of peace.

 

In the New Testament the Greek is EIRENE... (I-RAY’-NAY)... The word from which we get our word Irene.

• It speaks of a state of... peace... tranquility... harmony... with others...

• It speaks of harmony and accord among brethren found in the word KOINONIA...

• It speaks of a state of being right with God... Assured of one’s salvation because of Jesus.

 

When we consider these definitions...

We agree... We all desire peace... Especially God’s peace.

Isaiah tells us that Jesus came as the Prince of Peace.

Jesus promised... Peace I give you... My peace I leave with you.

Come... Let’s see what we can learn about Biblical Peace.

 

First... Jesus brings vertical peace... Peace with God.

Listen as I read Romans 5.1... 5.8 & 10 together... Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ... God demonstrates his own love for us in this:While we were still sinners, Christ died for us...  For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

 

This vertical peace is ours because of the forgiveness available in Christ.

The Prophet said... Your sins have separated you from God... That’s an uncomfortable position...

• For Adam and Eve it meant expulsion from the Garden... from the presence of God.

• For the wicked of Noah’s day... It meant total destruction...

• For Israel... It meant Assyrian and Babylonian captivity.

 

But... With God’s forgiveness in the act of Faith and New Testament baptism...

• Sin no longer separates us...

• Sin no longer has an eternal grip on our life.

Walking in the light... Continues to forgive us... So now God is present in our life... Day-By-Day… Moment-By-Moment… He lives in us through the Spirit He gave us.

 

Thank God for this vertical peace with Him... Amen?

 

Secondly... His coming brings us horizontal peace... Peace man to man.

At His death on the cross... The veil of the Temple was… supernaturally...miraculously... torn from the top to the bottom... Making access to God available for all mankind... The Hebrews’ Writer says... Making every man a priest.

 

Paul tells us in Ephesians 2.11-22 that the middle wall of partition has been removed... Now... God has made peace possible with all men... Jew and Gentile... Male and Female... Slave or free... All are one in Christ... All share in the promised peace made through Jesus.

 

Church... Not only does God now accept all men everywhere... So should we... So should we.

 

This peace Jesus made possible is to be exemplified in His children... That is if He really lives in us.

 

We are called to peace...

• Colossians 3.15 reads...Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts... You were called to peace.

• Jesus called us to be peacemakers... Pronounced a blessing on us when we pursue peace.

• We’re called to carry one another’s burdens.

• Called to place the interest of others before our own.

• Called to forgive as we have been forgiven.

• Called to love our enemies.

Do what leads to peace and mutual edification.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil... As much as it depends on you... Do all you can to live at peace with everybody.

• Hebrews 12.14 says... Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy... Without holiness no-one will see the Lord.

 

Church… These Scriptures are not to be ignored... Loving our enemies includes those of other religious convictions... Even those who hate us and would do us harm.

 

Indeed... We must not forget the peace Jesus came to make possible.

 

A peace... I believe it is graphically explained in First Peter 2.21-23... Do we want to hear it?.... REALLY?... To this you were called... This is speaking to us in the Bella Vista Church of Christ... To this you were called... Because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. Listen now!!... When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

 

Here it is... Just as forgiveness only takes one... So does peace...It is up to us.

 

What did Jesus tell Peter to do with his sword that night in the Garden?

• Do you think Peter resisted the Holy Spirit when he was moved to write these words in First Peter two?

• Don’t you think he recalled that night in the Garden?

What if Jesus had fought back that night calling ten-thousand angels instead of submitting? Where would we be this morning?

 

I wanna give you something to think about... How many wars have been fought in the last 2000 years of human history?... Some... If not most of them... Have been fought in the name of religion... Now...Just how much peace have we gotten out of the hundreds of wars?

• It’s estimated that the world has been at peace only 8% of the time in the last 3000 years of history.

• Between 1945 and 2000...well over 20 million people have died in over 100 wars.

 

Let me give you a statement from Martin Luther King’s Sermon on Peace from Christmas Eve 1967... “It’s one of the strangest things that all the great military geniuses of the world have talked about Peace. The conquerors of old came killing in the pursuit of peace... Alexander the Great... Julius Caesar... Charlemagne... Napoleon... were akin in seeking a peaceful world order. If you read closely enough... Historians will tell you that Hitler contended that everything he did in Germany was for peace. Leaders today speak of peace while they continue dropping bombs.”

 

Church... Don’t you think the world must change its mind, heart and attitude about hate and war...

Don’t you think hate and war are out of date?

• Has war ever brought about any real lasting peace?

• Does hate and war have any benefit?

Don’t you think that... By now... We would have gotten the message that... War and peace... Love and hate... Are mutually exclusive.

 

And here is the important part... Will we in the church... This church... Be the ones to change the… Heart... Mind... And behavior of the world... By our having... The Heart... Mind... And Behavior… Of Jesus... The prince of peace.

 

It was Jesus who said... The world will know that you belong to Me... That you are my disciple when you love one another.

 

Then thirdly... Jesus came to bring peace within.

My Peace I give you… My peace I leave with you… Not the world’s peace… But My Peace.

There are two ways Jesus gives us peace... One is spiritual and the other is emotional.

 

We’ll examine emotional peace first...

Twice in John chapter fourteen... Jesus is found saying... Don’t let your heart be troubled.

God’s desire is that we be at peace within ourselves.

 

Yes... Bad things will happen...

• The car will break down...

• The house will need repairs...

• Storms and fires happen...

• Our health will fail...

• We will lose loved ones to death...

What does Jesus have to say about this... Believe in God... Believe in Me... In My Father’s House are many abodes... I go to prepare one for you... And I come to get you... So that where I am there you may be also.

 

Church... We must stop putting so much EMPHASIS on this world and life in this world.

 

Solomon tells us this is our short home... Where we make plans for and lay up treasures in Our long home... Heaven with God.

 

Listen to Paul from Philippians chapter four... Do not be anxious about... WHAT?... About anything... But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Colossians 3.15 reads... Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

 

An absolute faith in God... A faith in Jesus... A faith in their promises... Results in peace within... Regardless of what’s going on around us.

 

You see... The peace God gives is not dependent upon circumstance or situation...

• Steven was at peace as they stoned him...

• Peter was at peace in jail as he awaited death at the hand of Herod.

• Paul and Silas were at peace in a Philippian jail cell.

• Paul was at peace in a storm that destroyed the ship and stranded the crew and passengers.

• He was at peace in a Roman prison... Knowing that death awaited.

• John was at peace exiled on the rocky island of Patmos.

History is filled with the peace of those who were willing to see God’s control regardless of their current circumstance or situation.

 

Here it is.. Emotional peace is not the absence of conflict... But the ability to cope with the conflicts and frustrations of life because of our faith in God.

 

A story is told of a retired couple who decided they would find the perfect place to live... A place where peace and serenity reigned... A place of ultimate safety and security.

• A place where there were no wars...

• Where there is perfect peace...

• Where they could live out the rest of their days in peace.

So... On Christmas day 1981... They moved to their island paradise... The only problem was that only a few months later... April of 1982... The Falkland Islands became a war zone between England and Argentina.

 

The peace Jesus offers comes from above has nothing to do with circumstance or situation.

 

World peace depends on favorable circumstances...

• If things go well...We’re at peace...

• If they go awry... The peace quickly dissipates...

Not so with the peace Jesus promises... My peace I give you... Not the peace of the world... But My peace.

 

This is God’s promise... Let’s open our minds to receiving it...How... Three ways...

 

Watch the company we keep...

  Instead of opening up toreceiving His peace... We keep company with the enemies of peace... Worry...Anxiety... Being overly ambitious... Envy... Pride... Anger... Selfishness.

 

Two… Ask God for Wisdom...

  Pray the Serenity Prayer... The gift of peace that Jesus promises...

“God...Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change....

Courage to change the things I can change...

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

 

How many come into my study with things that either are so trivial that it doesn’t matter... Or they come concerned about things over which they have no control.

• Forget the trivial...

• Turn the unchangeable to God....

And enjoy the peace Jesus promised... Amen?

 

Number three… Control your thoughts...

  Listen to Paul... Finally, brothers, whatever is true,whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think aboutsuch things... And the peace of God... Which transcends all understanding...Will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Then there’s the spiritual peace.

The peace that has to do with our relationship with God.

The peace that comes because we have been forgiven of past sins...

The peace from knowing that we have no sin guilt...

The peace that comes from knowing that we are saved... Heaven-bound people.

 

Listen to these Scriptures... Believe them… Accept them as truth... Find peace within them...

 

Galatians 3.26-27... We’re all sons of God...Children of God... Through faith in Christ Jesus...      For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ... Have been clothed with Christ.

 

Romans 8.1... Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

1 John 1.7 & 9  If we walk in the light, as he is in the light... We have fellowship with one another... And the blood of Jesus... His Son, continues to cleanse…purify us from all sin... For if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

Do you want God’s peace?... Perfect Peace?... It’s available in Jesus...

Accept it as we stand and sing together.