Summary: How a relationship with God should lead to peace.
Forget how we got started on it, Bryan and I talking about Kent State and the shootings there when I was a kid. Russell Jones and I talking yesterday about the news, how depressing it is to read the paper. Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, Liberia, there are wars and rumors of war, there is still a dramatic need for peace in our world. And not only on an international level: how many of us could use a dose of peace in our lives right now?
Remember that Jesus is describing for his followers what a relationship with God can look like and what our relationships with each other should look like. One of the key characteristics of both of those is peace. V. 26. Echoes the words at the beginning of this chapter: v. 1. When I was in Israel, typical greeting there was Shalom to the Israelis and masalom to the Palestinians we met. Both words meant peace. It was a rich word, meaning much more than just the absence of conflict. (Just witnessed a cease fire in Israel between Jewish government and Palestinian terrorists that was supposed to result in peace. Problem is that a just because there is no fighting going on at the moment, it doesn’t mean that peace exists, as was evident over the past few days.) The peace that Jesus is talking about is a settled sense of well being between you and God, with you and the circumstances of your lives, and between you and others, that your heart is at rest. How many of you would like a slice of that kind of peace right now?
· Jesus says that this is what he wants us to experience as his followers, that peace should be the norm for us.
o Does not mean we won’t face storms. 16:33. You will have trouble, will face difficulties. It is not that we face different circumstances than those who don’t follow Jesus. It is that in those circumstances, I deal with them differently than those around me.
o Not as the world gives: what kind of peace does the world offer? NEWSPAPER ARTICLE trying to put a reduction of stress on the ballot in CO. See the world can attempt to legislate peace, it can anesthetize you to trouble, can try to control conflict, or teach you to avoid it. But peace is not drug induced, it is not circumstantial, it is not found by avoiding conflict or by wielding the sword. Only in Christ can you find true peace.
o Look at what Jesus says that peace looks like: Don’t let hearts be troubled, don’t be afraid. Watching my washing machine the other day. The agitator. How many would say that pictures what’s going on in your life? Told Ann it was awfully hard preparing this stuff about peace when I didn’t feel very peaceful! Jesus saying our hearts don’t have to be like that. A troubled heart is filled with anxiety, there is no calmness of mind, sense of distress, restlessness, depression. That isn’t what he wants for us. The things that happen to us make us afraid, of the results, the future, how we’ll deal with life. People cause us fear, easier to avoid and run away than it is to reconcile and live in peace. That isn’t what he wants for us. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.”
o Peace with God. With our circumstances. With each other.
· Part of growing up in faith, of becoming like Jesus, is an ability to live more peace filled lives.
o Direct result of the indwelling of God’s Spirit. Romans 8:6 “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Gal. 5:22: the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. The job of the Spirit of God is to develop peace as part of our lives.
o The foundation of peace is trust in God. If you’re not experiencing peace, if plagued by fear and an agitated heart, it’s a warning signal that something is wrong with the foundation. Generally, each have specific areas where trust is difficult, peace is absent. Finances.
· How do we bring trust to bear?
· Learn about God’s character.
· Live within the victory of Christ: 16:33 I have overcome the world.
· Open our hearts to God: Philippians 4:6,7.
· Recognize the situation for what it is.
· Commit to living in peace with each other.