Summary: Three pleas from the greatest Peacemaker: 1. Stand firm in your faith (vs. 1). 2. Attempt to agree in the Lord (vs. 2). 3. Help hold other people together (vs. 3).
God Pleads for Our Peace
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Sept. 30, 2012
*Sometimes I think back to the church I attended in my teen years. That church had a terrible split when I was about 16. How bad was it? -- So bad that they went to court. And they fought that case all the way to the Supreme Court.
*Many of those church people, including my parents, were badly hurt by that nonsense. And that was all it took for me to decide that the church was a bunch of phony baloney. I was as lost as could be at the time. And it was 8 years before I started going back to church in a regular way.
*What happened to that church? -- Christians started treating other Christians in an unchristlike way, and the church nearly died. The church went down for the next 40 years, until the last handful came to their senses, got the help they needed, and God turned the situation around.
*God wants Christians to live in harmony. He wants all of us to have His peace. And here God’s Word makes 3 pleas for peace.
1. First, God pleads for us to stand firm in our faith.
*This plea has to do with our most important peace, and that is our peace with God. So in vs. 1, the Apostle Paul said this to the church: “Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.”
*Paul was speaking here to people he dearly loved. And he expressed this love four different ways. Paul told them:
-“You are my beloved.”
-“I long to be with you.”
-“You are my joy.”
-“You are my crown.”
*And as Paul thought about the disagreement that was going on in their church, what was the first thing he said to these Christians he loved so much? -- “Stand fast (or stand firm) in the Lord.”
*Christians, God wants us to stand firm in our faith. What does this have to do with peace in the church? -- Everything, because all real peace comes from God. And the most urgent peace is peace with God.
*The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ can give us peace with God.
-As Paul tells Christians in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
*Jesus Christ is the ultimate peacemaker.
*It’s hard to believe, But Christmas is just around the corner, and one of the things we celebrate at Christmas is the Lord’s peace. So 700 years before the Lord was born, God gave this prophecy through Isaiah:
-“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of PEACE. (Isaiah 9:6)
*And when the Lord was born, an angel brought the good news to the shepherds, and Luke 2 tells us:
13. . . Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE, good will toward men.
*Jesus Christ is the ultimate peacemaker. And He made this peace for us through His death on the cross. There Jesus took all of the pain and punishment that belonged to us. He took all of the wrath that we deserved for our sins. And now the Risen Savior offers everlasting peace to everyone who will trust in Him.
*Through the cross of Jesus Christ, we can have peace with God.
-And we can have God’s peace in our hearts.
*Ralph Turnbull told about a friend who went to visit an elderly Christian lady. She was badly crippled by arthritis. It almost hurt to look at her twisted hands. And he asked her: “Do you suffer much?”
*She pointed to her hand and said, “Yes, but there is no nail here. He had the nails. I have the peace.” Then, she pointed to her head and said, “There are no thorns here. He had the thorns. I have the peace.” (1)
*God wants us to have peace in our hearts, peace with one another, and most of all, peace with Him. So through the Apostle Paul in vs. 1, God pleads with us to stand firm in our faith.
2. God’s second plea is this: Attempt to agree in the Lord.
*Make every effort to agree in the Lord. This was Paul’s passionate message to us in vs. 2, where he said: “I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.”
*The KJV says “I beseech” or “beg.” The NIV says “I plead.” God’s Word says, “I implore, beseech, beg, plead with you to agree with each other in the Lord.”