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Gages Lake Bible Church

How to Have Peace in a World Gone Crazy

A Different Kind of Peace

Divine Intervention Series

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Gages Lake Bible Church

 

Outline:

 

I invite you to turn in your copy of the Scriptures to the fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel. We’re going to finish this chapter and then next week we’ll do an overview of the entire chapter—because I really want you to understand this entire chapter and its powerful promises for every believer.

 

I want to do something a bit different. I’d like you to read along with me – I’m reading from the New King James this morning –

 

John 14:27 (NKJV)
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, neither let it be afraid.

 

You and I know the setting by know, we’ve studied for several weeks, but Jesus is in the Upper Room with his disciples. They are frightened, fearful, and slightly confused. Their world is about to be shattered. And yet Jesus shares these rather audacious words.

 

He offers peace. What is peace? In the 2,000 or so years since Jesus spoke these words, the world is still looking for peace.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” This was after World War II and yet, the nation’s are still at war and there is no peace.

 

Neville Chamberlin after speaking with Hitler, prior to the war, said, “We have achieved peace in our time.” Which was proven to be a cowardly and foolish statement.

 

Harry Truman said, “It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow’s viewpont, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences.” And yet, Truman was the very man who authorized the world’s first use of the atomic bomb on Japan.

 

And on and on the quest for peace goes. Every American president, every United Nation’s Secretary General who enters office makes bold promises of peace.

 

And yet the world really has no peace.

 

But let’s bring it home. Forget the world scene, the bad headlines, the news scroll at the bottom of your TV screens, the ominous email updates.

 

What about your own personal peace? Mankind today seems on a quest for peace. Job losses, relationship issues, marital problems, problems with children, addictions, money problems, church issues – a lot of issues that give us reason to not have peace.

 

And yet the world, everyone, is on a quest for peace. You see it in our music and our culture. Advice shows like Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura and others fill the airwaves. Our bookstores are lined with self-help manuals. And if you Google “peace” you get 316 Million web pages.

 

Dictionary.com  gives several definitions of peace:

 

1.The normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.

2. an agreement or treaty between warring or antagonistic nations, groups, etc., to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting or antagonism:

3.a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, esp. in personal relations: Try to live in peace with your neighbors.

4.the normal freedom from civil commotion and violence of a community; public order and security: He was arrested forbeing drunk and disturbing the peace.

5.cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension.

6.freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquillity; serenity.

7.a state of tranquillity or serenity: May he rest in peace.

8.a state or condition conducive to, proceeding from, or characterized by tranquillity: the peace of a mountain resort.

9.silence; stillness: The cawing of a crow broke the afternoon's peace.

 

What Jesus Offers

But here we have the words of Jesus, on the eve of his tortured death, unjust trial, shameful execution, stunning betrayal, cowardly abandonment—we see Jesus offer peace.

 

But Jesus says, “This is not a peace like the world offers.” So what is this different kind of peace?

 

Two Kinds of Peace

Jesus says, “My peace I leave you, my peace I give unto you.” Now Jesus here is not using repetition to reinforce his point. He’s not stuttering. Jesus, in these words, is sharing about the two kinds of peace that dovetail with each other.

 

To understand, we need to get inside this word, peace. Its the word, shalom. If you go to Israel, you’ll notice that even to this day, it is a customary greeting. Paul addresses all of his letters with that word, shalom.

 

What is shalom? In the Old Testament sense, it embodies more than just peace as we would understand it, but would mean to feel “healthy” or be “whole.” It was used to describe a feeling of prosperity, safety, security in all areas of life.

 

But if you look at the Old Testament, peace was always used in relation to God. This peace for Israel was always a condition of obedience to God. If you study the Psalms, Asaph writes about the shalom promised to those who obey God. Isaiah 48:18 says, “Oh that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:”

 

This is stated explicitly in the law, if you read Leviticus and Deuteronomy. And the prophets, when pronouncing judgment on God’s people, speak of the peace they could have had if they obeyed God. All the troubles they experienced in their land were a result of them violating God’s covenant. Jeremiah 16:5, “For thus saith Jehovah, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament, neither bemoan them; for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith Jehovah, even lovingkindness and tender mercies.”

 

God’s purpose for Israel was to give them shalom, to bless them, not only for their own good, but so they’d be a light to the nations and glorify God.

 

But Israel sinned and God took away His peace. However, while the prophets spoke of the judgment of Israel, they also spoke of a coming time of peace, when a Messiah would come. It was a twofold peace. First, their would be a new covenant of peace and the Messiah, as Isaiah 53 says, “would bear the chastisement of our peace” upon him.

 

Then there would be an era that would come, when Israel would no longer live in fear of her enemies and as a nation would experience peace. The whole world would experience peace.

 

So all of Israel, especially the followers of Christ, especially these eleven men, were looking for this peace. When everything will be healed and the earth will be whole. When the earth will return to Eden.

 

They saw this in Jesus. And when Jesus was born, the angels sang about “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14). When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the multitudes, echoing the words of the prophet Zechariah, sang about “peace in heaven.”

 

What Was Happening?

But this Kingdom of Peace, prophesied in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the Messiah, wasn’t coming to pass. Instead, he would be unjustly crucified. And that’s where it didn’t make sense to them and often doesn’t make sense to us.

 

Where is this peace Jesus promised? But you see, if you look at the words of the prophets, you’ll realize that shalom, the peace of God doesn’t come unless man has peace with God.

 

So Jesus here says, “Peace I leave with you,” he is talking about peace with God. You see, ever since man fell in the Garden, man has been at enmity with God. Not because of our sin, but because of our fallen nature. Colossians 1:21 says that man in their natural state is alienated and an enemy of God. Romans 8:7 says that man’s natural state of the mind, the flesh, is not only at enmity with God, but can’t even be subject to, or obey, the law of God.

 

There is nothing and there was nothing Israel, the Gentiles, and the ordinary person could do to have peace with God. We were dead in our trespasses and sins. WE missed the mark. WE were alienated from God.

 

Unless God took the initiative – this too was promised in the Old Testament. The Redeemer, promised in the Garden, promised by the prophets. Isaiah said that he would bear the “chastisement of our peace.” Jesus, the Messiah, was leaving them to the cross—where nobody else could go, alone. He was going to bear the wrath of Almighty God for sin and thereby secure the peace of those who believe.

 

Paul writes in Ephesians, “For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition.” Ephesians 2:14

 

Verse 17 says that Jesus preached peace to those who were afar off. This is why the Gospel is often referred to as the gospel of peace. What this means is not that the gospel is the gospel of feeling good or the gospel of good tidings, but the gospel of peace with God through Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 5:1: Therefore, being justified by faith—being declared righteous because of our faith in Christ, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ.

 

This is one reason why this peace of God is a peace unlike the world can give. Mankind can’t secure His own peace with God. We’re sinners, we’re unable. It must be a gift. There must be an innocent sacrifice and that sacrifice was Jesus.

 

Jesus is telling the disciples and he is telling you and me this. He is saying this. NO matter what happens to you, no matter where you will go and what will become of your life, the most important thing about you is that you have peace with God. You’ve made peace with your Maker, not because you’ve done something to deserve it. Not because you’ve been religious and good and you’ve gone to church.

 

No, you have peace with God because Jesus Christ has secured your peace. If you are a believer, if you’ve put your faith in Christ, you now have access to God and have peace with him. God is no longer seeking to execute his wrath against your sin.

 

That’s why the Gospel is the great hope of the world, why Jesus is the solution to all of man’s problems.

 

We see people in the world searching for peace, peace with God. They don’t know it, but there is a hole in their heart.

 

The world offer its version of peace. This is why the bars are full. Not because people like to drink, but because there is a hole. They need to blow off steam, to medicate that feeling I their heart that tells them something is wrong.

 

But the next day that hole is still there. What they are looking for is peace with God. The world promises peace, but can’t deliver. Listen to the music of our age, music of despair and brokenness.

 

The gospel offers peace, my friend. It gets to the root of problems, which are not addictions or finances or relationships. Your problem is not the boss or the wife or the kids. It’s a problem of sin. You’re alienated from God and you need the gospel.

 

 

My Peace I Give You

When discover the peace with God, this peace results in another kind of peace for the disciple, the follower of Jesus. Again, this is a kind of peace the world cannot offer. This is the peace of God.

 

Romans calls this a “peace that passes all understanding.” Again, you can see Jesus pointing away from God’s relationship with Israel and the shalom he promised them to a new covenant and a new community called the church. And in the church, God would give His gift of peace through the presence of the Holy Spirit and this peace, which passes all understanding” will be the witness of Jesus in the world.

 

Jesus shares several characteristics of this kind of peace that the Christian can and should have:

 

This peace is a gift to be claimed. Just like we don’t do anything to earn our peace with God, we don’t do anything, believers in Christ do nothing to earn the peace of God. Jesus said that His peace was a gift. My peace I give you.

 

Sometime we think we Christians have to work really hard to achieve peace as a believer. We think that activity for God—doing all kinds of stuff—will bring us peace. And while its fulfilling to work for God, the peace Jesus offers is not something we generate.

 

That’s why its different from the world. The world offers ten step programs. They offer medication. They offer substances. They offer solutions and books and seminars.

 

But the peace of God is a gift. Jesus said that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. How do we experience God’s peace? We claim it. Based on Jesus work on the cross, we can have that lasting, permanent, peace of God.

 

I think sometimes we feel we have to prove ourselves to God. We feel God is looking over our shoulder and if we don’t do everything right, He’ll be out to get us. But my Bible says that because of Christ, we have peace with God. And that peace with God, gives us the peace from God.

 

Its something God puts in you through the Spirit. Its one of the fruits of the Spirit-something the Spirit puts in you, something you don’t generate, but something you claim. Paul urges us in Philippians to be “anxious for nothing” but everything by “prayer and supplication.”

 

You see, because we have access to the throne room of Heaven by Jesus, we can at any time, offer up prayer to Jesus and ask Him for His peace. Galatians says that there is no “law” or “limit” to the fruits of the Spirit. So when you’re scared, frightened, anxious, worried, you’re solution is not to find a remedy, but to get in the Presence of God and claim His peace. Take these precious words of Scripture and make them yours. Meditate on them.

 

Isaiah tells us that God will keep us in perfect peace if our “mind is stayed on thee.”

 

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This peace is based on the work of the Spirit. This is a peace based on the work of the Spirit. Let’s read Jesus words as we continue in John 14

 

John 14:28 (KJV)
28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

 

 

Now Jesus words’ seem somewhat confusing. And they don’t really seem to have anything to do with peace. But I want you to see what He is saying to the disciples and therefore, to us.

 

Jesus did tell the disciples he was going to the cross and would come back, both in resurrection and also will come back again at the Second Coming. Earthly speaking, to them, it was a tragedy. They’d lose their Master, their Comforter, their Friend. There was nothing peaceful about that.

 

And yet Jesus says, “You should rejoice.” Why? Because Jesus’ leaving would secure their peace with God at the cross, their salvation.

 

But also, because Jesus leaving would allow the Spirit to indwell and give them the peace of God. Jesus here says, “My Father is Greater than I.”

 

Jehovah Witnesses typically use this to say that Jesus was merely created, that God is greater than Jesus. But what Jesus is saying is not that he is less than the Father—He is equal with the Father and all through John we’ve see him claim that. My father and I are one, he says.

 

But as a full-man, as the God-man, Jesus was limited by human attributes. Philippians talks of how Jesus set aside his rights and humbled himself even to the death of the cross.

 

Why would the disciples find this cause for rejoicing? Because when Jesus ascends to Heaven, the Holy Spirit comes and would indwell them. The Spirit would be able to do the things in them that Jesus could not do physically on earth.

 

And when that Spirit came, they would believe all the things He had told them. Their minds would be illuminated by the Spirit. They would know all things. And they would have the peace of God in their hearts.

 

You see, God’s peace is something the Spirit does in us. As we allow the Spirit more control of our lives, we have more peace. Have you noticed that mature Christians, who know the Lord, seem to have just a sense of peace about them? This is something you notice about those who have walked with the Lord for a while. You want to be with them, because they just have a sense of God’s peace.

 

We go back to Jesus words, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” You see, you have control of your heart. You say to me, “Dan, I’m a Christian, but I have no peace in my life.” And I say to you this. Its not because Jesus is holding out on you. He promises peace. But you must let the Spirit rule in your heart, you must clean out those areas over which you’ve claimed control.

 

Let not your heart implies a surrender of your emotions and your heart to the will of God. Paul writes this in Colossians:

 

Colossians 3:15 (ASV)
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful.

 

Philippians 4:7 (ASV)
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus

 

Warren Wiersbe says, “We have the Spirit within us, the Saviour above us, and the Word before us! What tremendous resources for peace!”

 

If you hang on to your life, my friend, if you cling to it you’ll not have peace. But if you surrender your heart and your thoughts and your mind, if you dwell and meditate on God’s goodness, if you understand His love for you and that you have peace with God, then God promises to open up the storehouse of Heaven and give you His peace.

 

This is a peace based on truth. Jesus continues by reminding them of the prophecy he’s telling them:

 

John 14:29 (KJV)
29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

 

Jesus reminds them. “I’m predicting everything that his happening, so when it happens and the Spirit indwells you, you will believe.” You see, He’s not giving them peace based on a false hope.

 

Jesus as the Messiah fulfilled all the prophecies of the prophets. This is why we believe. Our faith, Christianity, is not based on some fantasy or false notions. Its not a feel good-faith. It’s a faith based on truth.

 

We have the prophecy to prove it. God has kept His Word with His people. And that should give us peace. Our peace is based on the truthfulness of God’s promises.

 

Dear friend, nothing in this world is guaranteed and most people break their promises. Maybe you’re here and you don’t have peace because someone or somebody broke their word to you.

 

But God’s Word is sure. HE has kept His promises. Every single one of them. We sing, often, “ON Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, All Other Ground is Sinking Sand.”

 

People often say about Christianity that it’s a myth, that the Resurrection was a fable. But ask me this. Would these scared, faithless men have risked their lives and created a worldwide movement if it were not true. Their own lack of faith before the cross is a proof of Jesus’ resurrection.

 

And Christians, we base our hope, not on politics, not on a political party, not on a platform, or even principles. We don’t base it on the #’s in our bank account. All of those things can chance. No, we base it on the solid rock of Jesus Christ.

 

And if you put your hope, you’re life and anchor it to Jesus, when those storms come, you will have something left.

 

Which brings me to my next point. 

 

This is a peace in the midst of storm. Jesus is not giving this promise of peace in a vaccum. He’s giving it, knowing full well what awaits him. He is going to the cross.

 

Ray Stedman wrote of what Jesus anticipated, “He sees looming on the immediate horizon the most terrible power clash in all history, the awful "death grapple in the darkness" when he must confront the enemy of humanity head-on and deal with the shame, humiliation and weakness of sin.”

 

Jesus said to them, “I give you my peace.” In other words, Jesus had peace, even though he was on the eve of his most horrific hours, the worst torture you can imagine.

 

And it wasn’t as if Jesus was skipping, smiling to the cross. In John 12:27, we read of Jesus heart being “greatly troubled.” In Mark 14:33, “He was greatly amazed and sore troubled.” And right after this, Jesus would go to the Garden of Gethsemane, where the other three gospels describe Jesus’ utter agony. He sweat drops of blood.

 

And yet, Jesus says, “I have peace and you can have peace too.”

 

Merril Tenney writes, in his commentary on John, “His peace did not consist in freedom from turmoil and suffering. Like the compass of a ship, which steadily points north no matter how the ship may be rocked in a storm, Jesus’ mind was at rest because of his trust in the Father. Precisely for this reason He bequeathed a different peace from that of the world, which consists of a temporary compromise or a heedless complacency. Jesus found tranquility in adherence to the will of God, even on the verge of the cross.”

 

You see the peace we are talking about here, this gift of peace that Jesus gives and the Spirit expands in our hearts, is not some Pollyannaish peace. It’s not the absence of trouble and turmoil.

 

Sometimes Christians give this idea that once you find Jesus, you have no troubles. But sometimes finding Jesus begins the start of your troubles. Sometimes Christians have this idea that everything is rosy and easy.

 

But its not. Sometimes you will have trials. You will struggle. You will have fear and worry and doubt. Jesus was deeply troubled. His heart was agonizing over the cross.

 

The peace of God doesn’t take away your troubles. It doesn’t take away that feeling. But it gives you as a deep-down sense that everything is going to be okay. And its something that the Spirit does for you.

 

I remember, earlier this year, when we sent through several trials, I remember days where I didn’t know what would happen. My kid was sick, I had issues with some brothers and sisters in the Lord. I felt as if all of the enemy was attacking me.

 

And yet there were times in that trial that I got with God and the Spirit gave me a sense of peace. I can’t explain it, except to say that it was something supernatural.

 

You see, peace doesn’t eliminate the storm, the pain, the trial. David said in the psalms, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” You walk through the valley, not around it or over it, but through it.

 

But . . . we fear no evil, because God is with us. God is with us. And God is with you and with me, through the Holy Spirit, walking you through your valley. You don’t have to fear.

 

When we were away in Springfield, for the IFCA Convention a few weeks ago, I took Grace for one last swim in the pool before we left. Were staying at the Holiday Inn and the pool was next door at the Crown Plaza. To get to the pool, we took a shortcut at the Crown Plaza through a side door.

 

Well the passageway snaked through some conference rooms that on this particular day were very dark.

 

As we began to walk through, Grace and I were both quiet. But suddenly she says to me, “Daddy, I’m not scared because you are here.”

 

Of course, as a Dad, I loved that. Every single moment of parenting was worth it when I heard that.

 

But it made me think of our Heavenly Father. He walks us through our valleys. HE gives us His peace in the midst of trials.

 

Phillip Brooks said. "Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks."

 

 

It’s a peace that brings glory to God. Jesus continues:

 

John 14:30-31 (KJV)
30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

Jesus in the march to the cross, the fulfill the will of the Father, to complete the mission set in motion before time began.

He says, “the prince of this world comes and has nothing in me.” He’s referring to Satan and that cosmic battle in the Garden, when Satan tempted Jesus to abandon the father’s will, when Satan inhabited Judas and crucified Jesus.

This was the bleakest moment of history. When darkness fell on the earth. When the creation rose up against its Creator. When it seems that sin and evil were on the march and in control.

And yet Jesus says, “Satan has nothing in me.” I believe Jesus is saying to them, “Satan will try to tempt me, but has nothing in me.” In other words, there is nothing Satan can do to attract me to Him, to get me to sin.

You see, if Satan could get Jesus to abandon the cross, sin wins. And we have no peace. We are of all men most miserable. We’re in our sins and face the wrath of a Holy God.

But Satan couldn’t tempt God. Because God cannot lie. God cannot sin. Jesus didn’t just not sin because he didn’t wish to sin. HE couldn’t sin. He was sinless. There was no guile in him.

This bring us great hope, though, because as Satan couldn’t touch Jesus, so it is with us, that if we are in Jesus, Satan cannot touch us. When we are in the Spirit, Satan has no power over us.

He wants to get to your mind, your body, your soul, but He can’t touch you if you’re with Jesus. He’s been defeated. He’s a defeated enemy.

And I want you to know dear friend, that when you are in your bleakest moment, when you face your Garden of Gethsemane, when it seems as if the enemy is on the move and is in control, know that if you are in Christ, HE can’t touch you. You can have God’s perfect peace.

And what’s more, what Satan contrives for evil will bring about God’s glory. Jesus said, essentially, “Yes, Satan’s plot is about to unfold, but you can have peace, because this wicked evil of Satan will be used for God’s glory, to show the world my love for Him.”

What a powerful statement. When we obey God and the forces of Satan come against us and when it seems as if our world is out of control, I want you to know that God will get glory.

Our peace, my friends is not based on what happens to us. It’s not based on our circumstances. Its not based on our bank accounts, our friendships, our work status.

That’s the cheap and easy peace the world gives. No, the peace Jesus gives you and gives me is a peace born in the crucible of hardship. It’s a peace in the shadow of the cross. It’s a peace on the doorstep of Gethsemane.

And what Satan contrives for your evil, God works for your good and His glory. We can trust that because we have peace with God and have the peace of God, that nothing God allows to happen, even the ugliest of crosses, the most agonizing of Gethsemanes, the worst betrayals and abandoments, everyone can be used by God for our good and His glory.

The peace God offers is not some superficial, happy-go-lucky peace. It’s a deep-down assurance, a gift of Jesus, a work of the Spirit, in us. And when we experience this peace, the world sits back and marvels.

When you get back bad medical results and you have God’s peace, the world marvels.

When you lose a loved one and you have God’s peace, the world marvels.

When you are betrayed, smeared, and abused, and have God’s peace, the world marvels.

When you face the enemy, when you boldly stand for God and obey His will in spite of your opposition, the world marvels.

Closing

I want to close today with a story. This is told by Dr. Harry Ironside in his commentary on John.

At the close of the war between the States, we are told that a troop of federal cavalry were riding along a road between Richmond and Washington. Suddenly they saw a poor wretch, clothed in the ragged remnants of a Confederate uniform come out of the bush. He hailed the Captain who drew rein and waited for him. He gasped out, "I am starving to death. Can you help me? Can you give me some food?" The Captain said, "Starving to death! Why don't you go into Richmond and get what you need?" The other answered, "I dare not, for if I did I would be arrested. Three weeks ago I became utterly disheartened and I deserted from the Confederate army, and I have been hiding in the woods ever since waiting for an opportunity to get through the lines to the north, for I knew if I were arrested I would be shot for deserting in time of war." The Captain looked at him in amazement and said, "Haven't you heard the news?" "What news?" the poor fellow gasped. "Why, the war is over. Peace has been made. General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox two weeks ago. The Confederacy is ended." "What!" he said, "peace has been made for two weeks, and I have been starving in the woods because I did not know it?"

Dear sinner, I want to tell you that peace has already been made for you by Jesus on the cross. If you’re sitting here today and you don’t have peace, its not because its not available to you.

 

But you have to claim it by faith, by surrendering to the will of God through the Holy Spirit in you. Sadly, many Christians live like the world. Even though they have the Spirit inside of them, they live like atheists, as if God isn’t in charge.

 

They complain about the government. They complain about their family stuff. They complain about money. You’d never know they have Christ in them and the possibility for a supernatural peace.

 

The reason? They’ve searched for peace like the world does. In temporal, carnal desires. They’ve allowed Satan to inhabit their thoughts and destroy their thinking.

 

But if you have Jesus, if you have peace with God. You can have the peace of God.

 

 

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