Summary: We can recover lost peace by focusing upon the source of peace. #2 in a 4-part series.
Title: Finding A New Peace
Series: New Beginnings for the New Year
Text: Ephesians 2:14-18
Introduction: “Encouraging” The New Members
“Bill and Sue” had recently moved into the city, and had been visiting our church for several weeks. They made friends quickly, and possessed a variety of gifts and talents that would enhance the ministries of our church. Within a short time they decided that God would have them join our congregation. They always seemed to have a smile of their faces, and constantly exhibited a loving devotion to the Lord’s work. We were delighted to have them, and looked forward to helping them find their niche in the ministries of the church.
But within a week of joining, Sue came to my office spiritually depressed and in need of counseling. It seems that an unhappy member had taken it upon themselves to reveal to this couple all the “problems” of the church. They unloaded on them with both barrels blazing, revealing all the real and imagined troubles they knew of. By the time the conversation was finished, Bill and Sue not only were not smiling, they were seriously questioning their decision to join the church.
The old saying, of course, is true; misery does love company. Sadly, when God’s people have lost their peace, they often spend more time recruiting others to be sympathetic to their selfish point of view than they spend trying to rediscover the peace that Christ promised.
For those believers today who have lost their peace, I want to remind you that you can, indeed, get it back. It’s the peace that Jesus promised us (John 14:27), and it’s the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). If you’ve lost your peace, your joy, and your happiness, I want to encourage you today to find this peace anew.
I. THE SOURCE OF PEACE - JESUS. Ephesians 2:14-15
Illustration: A World In Turmoil
The Personnel Journal reported this incredible statistic: since the beginning of recorded history, the entire world has been at peace less than eight percent of the time! In its study, the periodical discovered that of 3530 years of recorded history, only 286 years saw peace. Moreover, in excess of 8000 peace treaties were made—and broken. (Moody Bible Institute’s “Today In The Word,” June, 1988, p. 33. Cited online at http://www.bible.org.)
A. Jesus Broke Down The Wall Of Separation. Ephesians 2:14b-15
Note: The [middle wall of separation] alludes to the separation of the Court of the Gentiles from the rest of the Temple. Between that court and the Court of the Israelites was a sign that read, "No Gentile may enter within the barricade which surrounds the sanctuary and enclosure. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death." This physical barrier illustrated the barrier of hostility and hate that also separated the two groups. As we learn from the book of Acts, even a Jew who brought a Gentile into the restricted part of the Temple risked being put to death. (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (c) Moody Press and John MacArthur, Jr., 1983-2002.)
Illustration: Moving The Fence
Another story from World War II is that of a group of American soldiers who lost their buddy in battle. They carried his body to the only cemetery in the area, which happened to be Catholic. When the priest was told that the dead man was not Catholic he said, "I am sorry, but he cannot be buried here"
The disheartened and discouraged soldiers decided to do what they thought was next best, and during the night they buried their comrade just outside the cemetery fence. They returned the next morning to pay their last respects, but they could not find a grave outside the fence.
When they told the priest of their quandary, he said, "The first part of the night I stayed awake sorry for what I told you. And the second part of the night I spent moving the fence." (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (c) Moody Press and John MacArthur, Jr., 1983-2002.)
1. Jesus Christ removed every obstacle that stood between me and God.
2. He made me new in Him, thereby establishing my peace with God.
3. He “moved the fence” so there would no longer be a source of enmity between us.
B. Jesus Wiped Out The Requirements Of The Law. (Colossians 2:13-14)
1. He has made me alive with Him.
2. He has forgiven me all of my trespasses.
3. He has given me grace and mercy.
4. All of this is accomplished through His death on the cross. (Galatians 2:20)
Note: The cross is God’s answer to legalism, racial discrimination, segregation, bigotry, war, pride, hatred, selfishness, pessimism, and every other cause and result of human strife.