Intro: A therapist told their patient the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what they start.
So far today, they finished 2 bags of chips and a chocolate cake. They said, “I feel better already.”
There are lots of people giving advice and writing books about peace today. Peace is often talked about as the absence of things. Some of those things would be violence, conflict, pain, suffering, war. Peace is not just the absence of certain things. Spiritual biblical peace is the presence of Jesus not the absence of outward issues.
This is one of Jesus’ farewell addresses with the keynote fear not. But why are we to not fear? Is he going to make everything perfect in our life? No!! Did everyone get along with Jesus? Of course not he actually aggravated some people to the point they wanted to crucify Him! Already we have said that peace is not the absence of things but the presence of a right relationship with Jesus Christ. Adrian Rogers said so powerfully, “Peace is not the subtraction of problems but the addition of power to face and overcome them.”
The word Shalom – Wholeness
The word of confession – Jesus
I. Peace is given by the Lord (My peace I give to you) John 14.27
A) A different peace – My peace I give to you, not as the world gives.
Romans 5.1 It is because of His work for us and in us that we are whole. God desires to give you wholeness. He is not the one that keeps you from peace in your struggle. Since the cross the stretched pierced arms of Jesus were open to you to make you whole. The world says peace only comes when the conflict ends. Jesus says I offer you the gift of wholeness in the conflict.
B) A definite peace – “your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”
Habakkuk 2:4 God tells us that the just shall live by faith. Faith is a trust in the goodness of God that keeps our hearts from being fearful about situations or results. Faithfulness as followers of Jesus depends on living by faith because of the peace God gives us. This distinct peace is based on Jesus finished work on the cross. He said it is finished. Colossians 1:20 “Our Lord made peace through the blood of the Cross.”
This is all the peace with God. What is missing today in so many Christians lives is the peace of God. Peace with God is based on Jesus atoning work on the cross it can never be taken away.
II. Peace is grown by learning to lean
Peace with God is given. Peace of God grows. The peace of God is experiential. It is in the growing nearness and likeness to Jesus that this peace grows.
A) We learn to be satisfied
I have learned to be content in whatever condition Philippians 4.10-14
Contentment isn’t based on things that change. It is based on walking with Jesus and discovering He really does meet all our needs. Jesus is bigger than my need to eat, have clothing, or a place to lay my head. When we discover this truth we can grow in our trust of Jesus.
A passing hunger for the things of this world comfort, lack of conflict, recognition, wealth, brings a short and shallow satisfaction. When you are full on worldly snacks when it is time to feed on the bread of life you have no appetite. Deep lasting satisfaction comes from continually feeding you mind and soul the truth of Jesus.
Do you ever wonder why God gave Moses an incomplete sentence to tell the Israelites who He is? I am seems to need something following it. If you are lost he says I am the way, if you are confused He says I am wisdom, if you are afraid He says I am with you, if you hurt He says I am your healer. Whatever you face in this life He says I am and you fill in the blank. He is everything.
B) We learn to cast our cares on Jesus
Then the Lord’s peace will keep your hearts and minds Philippians 4.6-7 (learn to let God have it)
We give our burdens to someone who can carry and control what is going on in our lives. So what is it that is weighing you down? What seems to smother your peace? Anxiety, worry, or fear block and strangle thoughts of faith. Why did Jesus tell us to cast our cares on Him? Casting our worries on someone else or letting control of the situation go is not natural. It must be learned through the instruction and revelation Jesus gives us. We try to strangle hold the outcome and Jesus wants us to learn to take His hand.
III. Peace is grace lived out
What is peace? It is living in the constant flow of God’s grace. Peace with God is a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. How was this peace purchased? At the cross sin and separation was confronted not appeased. Sin was not overlooked it was paid for. The righteousness of God, Jesus Christ, fought sin and won and the result is peace a whole relationship with God!! The peace with God is a gift. Peace of God is worked out as we grow in living in grace!! Do you ever ask yourself why don’t I have that peace that passes understanding that Paul promises will guard us in Philippians 4? It could be because you were never told that this promise comes as you grow in grace and walk with Jesus, or because you are not applying the principles of peace.
How can I do this? It is not that easy. It has taken me about 18 years to discover how to daily live in God’s peace. Peace with God means that I am saved, forgiven, sealed. Peace of God is living daily understanding I am right with God. This overwhelming realization means that no matter what when I leave this place I will go to be with God. Living God’s grace out is not something you can necessarily tell someone. You can give principles and helpful direction however, you must experience God’s grace His forever presence in your daily emotions, decisions, thoughts etc. Peace is knowing that God is bigger than your circumstance. Peace is knowing that if God tells you to do something He will deal with the results. It does away with worry etc.
A) Wholeness brings clarity of Vision
2 Kings 6:15-17 Those that are for us are greater.
B) Wholeness brings certainty of purpose
Know that until you are right with God you will be a troublemaker instead of a peacemaker. How do we make peace? We introduce people to the prince of piece.
C) Wholeness brings concern for others
When you experience peace with God or salvation it is the beginning of a change of focus in your life. After Peter and the disciples and apostles were given the gift of peace they wanted to share their wholeness with others.
We also want to share the peace of God with others. As I grow more and more in learning to lean on Jesus it seems as though he creates a burden to share with others how to live above my circumstances in the presence of God. It is not that life is perfect it is that God is perfect able to meet the needs of the situations I face.
D) Wholeness brings courage for waiting
Phillip Brooks, a famous pastor of the last century, was in his office, pacing the floor, frustrated. Somebody walked in and saw him and asked, “What’s the matter, pastor?”
He said, “I’m in a hurry and God isn’t!”
I’m in a hurry for many ministries that I believe need to happen. God is not. He is waiting for Christ to be formed in us so that he can be shared by us.
Conclusion: Peace is offered to us as a gift from Jesus. Peace is promised as we lean on Jesus daily. Peace is offered to everyone who calls on the name of Jesus. Peace of God is available to us no matter our circumstances, struggles, failures or fears.
Also remember the peace offered to us by God is not the absence of these it is the revelations that Jesus is with us and is more powerful than anything we face.
Which do you want the promise of God to control you or the problems of the world?
— great sermon from Pastor Billy Ricks—