Summary: We have been given the means by which we can have peace within the body of Christ. All Bible references are from the NASB.
Peace. How much we long for it. We look around the our world, and we find no peace. We look around our nation, which is more divided than I have ever seen it, there is no peace to be found. We look around our town, our community and even here, peace is often elusive. In many of our homes, I sorry to say, there is little peace. We are looking at this time leading up to Christmas, as a time where we take to heart the praise of the angels at their announcement of the Savior’s birth as heard by the shepherds on the field outside of Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
As we have discussed last week, this praise of the angels to God is about God giving His people peace. Not to the world as a whole. In preparing for this sermon series, in my studies, I have found that God has given us the implements of peace, the things that will bring peace to the people of God. Yes, individually we have peace with God:
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
This inner peace we will explore more in the coming weeks. But in exploring the peace of Jesus, and the peace Jesus gives in the New Testament, much is said about the peace among God's people, the body of Christ, the church. We looked at this last week and we will continue to explore that aspect of peace today. Peace is what we should have in our fellowship. So, how does that work?
This same passage I preached three years ago, and the emphasis then was on unity in the fellowship. Unity is so important as we in the church make a stand against the godless forces out in the world that is opposed to all we are and all we stand for. But today, the emphasis in this same passage is peace. What makes for peace in our fellowship and with that peace, unity?
Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
From this verse we see “the Peace of Christ” is to rule over us. If you have the KJV or NKJV it will read “the Peace of God.” This is due to the different Greek text used in translation. However the meaning is the essentially same. That peace we have is the peace Jesus gives us, it should rule over us.
“Let rule” in the Greek can be translated as to act as an umpire. This peace we experience from Jesus should be a deciding factor in what we choose to do. Every day we are faced with choices. Should we or should we not do this or that, take this course of action or another? Peace with these decisions ought to rule.
Peace, the very peace of God should guide all our activities, whether individual decision or actions, or in church programs and projects. Over the years I’ve been pastor of this church, you may have noticed how I shut down decisions in business meeting of which we have some notable dissention. Even though we may have a majority to pass a motion, it is not worth the loss of peace in the fellowship to pursue that matter further at that point in time. Keeping peace is different from compromise. Make no mistake, there things we do not back down on, but what color should the new carpet be is not one of them. Keeping the peace results in unity in the fellowship. What did Jesus say about peace?
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Are you and I a peacemaker in the body, for "you were called in one body" (verse 15). We are one with one another. Do all we do, not only honor Jesus, but bring peace to whole body? The Bible is quite clear, no one among us is called to a “Lone Ranger” Christian. We are in this all together and must be at peace with one another. If we have peace as our umpire for our decisions making within the body of Christ, we cannot simply say I have personal inner peace with the decision I have made. We must consider others in the fellowship. Will my brother be at peace with any decision I have made or course of action I have determined to take.
We need to remember that as the body of Christ, that Jesus is our head, and we following in all things.
Colossians 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.