Summary: Part Two on how to experience peace
“Peace Like A River” - Part Two
OPEN: This morning we are going to continue with our study on peace. It’s obvious to all of us that we live in a world that really knows very little about what peace is and how to experience it. Peace is one of those things that everyone wants, but no one has a real clear answer of what it is or how you can get it and keep it. Our world is filled with anxiety, stress and tension. 10 of the top 50 most prescribed medicines in America are for anxiety, and depression - generating around 10 billion dollars annually for the drug companies. Our culture is filled people who seem unable to cope with the circumstances in their lives. And the sad reality is that in spite all of the effort and energy that’s put into trying to find peace or establish peace or create peace, so many people never really experience it. So this morning we are going to be continue exploring what the Bible has to say about experiencing peace in our lives. Where do you go to find stability in life? Where do you go to learn to cope? Where do you go to learn to deal with anxiety? Where do you go to deal with circumstances that you find debilitating you and pressuring you?
Review: You remember from last week that peace is a part of the armor of God. It’s what enables us to
stand when the enemy attacks us. We said that in the Bible we are taught about two different kinds of peace. There is Peace With God and there is the Peace of God. When we talk about peace we are talking about the Shalom of God – Shalom is wholeness – it is togetherness – it is being all together together. It’s a deep down sense of contentment, lacking fear and anxiety and worry. It’s having a sense that you have all you need to face all that you are dealing with. If you have peace, the Shalom of God – you have what you need to stay stable – you will not be easily knocked over or knocked out – you have firm footing. That’s what the apostle had in mind when he says, “Stand firm then with your feet fitted with the readiness (the preparation) that comes from the Gospel of Peace.” This is part of the armor we are to take up and wear – We defend ourselves from the onslaught that comes from the enemy, we prepare ourselves to stand in the face of battle by realizing in our individual lives the good news of the Gospel of peace.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have
trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Note the words “In me” – Where does this peace come from – it comes from Jesus Christ – you can’t find it any other place. In other words – this is not a peace program – this peace is not wrapped up in a program – it is wrapped up in a person. It is directly related to a personal relationship with Him. Now notice in this verse “in the world,” what do you have? Trouble - tribulation. But “In me” you have peace – This peace comes from being “in Christ” – It is rock steady.
You see this is a kind of peace that is not determined or impacted by circumstances. It isn’t something that we are brought into through some change of circumstance. It is steady – it is steadfast – and we aren’t thrown off when something comes our way that we didn’t expect. It isn’t a matter of chance or luck - but it is a matter of choice. Circumstances do not have to be a certain way in order for us to experience the peace of God.
We talked about it last week: The typical way a person tries to establish peace in their life is to try to rearrange the circumstances of their life - to try to change their environment - to put things together- in place- in such a way that the circumstances of their life are put in order - and put into such an order that anxiety and stress can be reduced.
Now here’s what I can say about that – there is not a single verse in the Scripture that says we can arrange our lives in such way that troubles trials and tribulations and heartache won’t be part of our lives. In fact Jesus taught just the opposite. He said “In this world ye shall have tribulation.” Slice of reality. Nobody escapes it – in fact starting with his very first sermon, he said when you make the choice to follow me – expect more of it. In fact this verse became the basis of a very well-known country song about 25 years ago - that great country theologian, June Carter sang – “I beg your pardon – I never promised you a rose garden” - that song comes right out of the Bible.