An Unusual Peace
December 9, 2017 | Brian Bill
He has come for us…the hope of all mankind…the Messiah born to give us life…He is Christ the Lord.
The headlines have been horrible this year, haven’t they?
Is it possible to have peace when we’re surrounded by so many problems?
Here’s an upside down thought…
We often say, “If only I could get some peace and quiet,” (my mom used to say that a lot when I was growing up) like it’s some sort of destination or something “out there,” when actually true peace doesn’t come from going to a specific place or having a certain possession; peace comes from knowing a special Person.
Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Peace is the not the absence of external conflict. It’s the internal presence of the eternal Prince of Peace. Peace can be experienced in the midst of the mess we’re in and peace can help us endure disturbing problems and even difficult people.
The word “peace” is the Hebrew word Shalom and is used over 230 times in the Old Testament. It means completion or fulfillment and refers to entering into a state of wholeness and unity, where ruptured relationships are restored.
So how can we experience shalom in times of sorrow, suicides, sickness, stress, struggles and sadness?
In the account of shepherds out with their flocks, an angel appears in Luke 2:10 and announces “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Suddenly an entire army of angelic messengers fills the sky with an outpouring of adoration in verse 14: “Glory to God in the highest…”
Their praise then led to a proclamation of peace: “…and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”
Here’s what we can learn from this: Peace comes to those who praise Him and to those who give Him glory.
Peace comes only after praising. When we put God and His glory first then peace will come.
The word “peace” in the New Testament means to “join together; to set at one again.” It has the idea of gluing something that has been broken back together and is used in at least four ways.
- Peace with God – that’s the vertical dimension
- Peace of God – this takes place internally
- Peace among others – that’s horizontal peace
- Peace for others – that’s the proclamation of the gospel of peace
1. Peace with God.
Before we can understand this first dimension we must realize that our relationship with God has been ruptured. While God loves us and cherishes us, there is separation because of our sinfulness. Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 5:1 gives the good news: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Because of what Jesus Christ did on the Cross, you and I can now be at peace with God.
We don’t deserve this peace. In fact, what we deserve is death and eternal punishment. But, because of God’s great love, He provided a way for us to be set at one again with the God of the universe. God’s joy and His justice converged on the cross of Calvary. His love and His law find full satisfaction through the sacrificial death of His Son. God is both just and the justifier.
2. Peace of God.
The upward dimension must be taken care of before inward peace can permeate our lives
In order to have the peace of God internally, we must first experience peace with God vertically. The upward dimension must be taken care of before inward peace can permeate our lives. Those at peace with God can then experience the peace of God. Shortly before Jesus died, He declared in John 14:27: “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.”
3. Peace among others.
When we work at resolving conflict we are doing what God does
When we’re at peace with God, and we have internal peace, we can then be at peace among others. Jesus said in Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.” When we work at resolving conflict we are doing what God does. We’re called to make peace when we’re involved in conflict.
4. Peace for others.
The only way for people to have peace with God, to have peace inside, and to be at peace with others, is for people like us to tell them about the gospel of peace. Peter summarizes the essence of the Incarnation when he declares in Acts 10:36: “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.” Just as the shepherds hurried off to tell the good news, so we too must share peace with others.
The highest degree of glory to God is connected with the giving of His Son. It all starts in heaven with God’s perfect plan and it arrives on earth where peace comes to those who personalize the message. It’s available to all but will only be activated for those who accept Immanuel, for those who believe and receive. John 1:12 gives us a headline filled with hope, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
Are you ready to believe and receive so that you can be at peace with God, so that you can have the peace of God, so that you can be at peace among others and so that you can proclaim the gospel of peace for others?
“God, I admit that I’ve been at war with you. I confess that I’m a sinner and I repent of my sins. I’m in desperate need of being at peace with you so by faith I believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and I now receive Him into my life. Please save me from my sins. Thank you for rising from the dead, which shows that you have conquered sin and Satan and death. I ask you now to give me peace within and help me to make peace with those I’ve been in conflict with as I look for ways to give the gospel of peace others. As you do all this I can declare that all is well…all is well.”
Benediction: From 2 Thessalonians 3:16: “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”