Summary: What is peace, why do we need it, how does God's peace differ
Peace be with you
15 April 2012 at Christ Church Billericay
The theme this morning is “Peace be with you”. I suppose you can see that the disciples needed God's peace, they had locked themselves away because they were frightened that the Jewish authorities were coming to get them.
Lets remind ourselves of how they got here.
They were all young men. They'd given up their careers to follow a man called Jesus. He was a charismatic leader and had a view of the world that was new and different. While they had been with him they had seen and done some extraordinary things – healings, even bring people back from the dead. They had become convinced that Jesus was the Messiah – the person God had promised who would make the Jews right with their God. Some of the teaching they had received had been difficult for them to understand – so they hadn't really taken it in. Then just a couple of weeks ago they had been preparing to go into Jerusalem for the Passover festival. There were always huge crowds at the festival. Jesus had chosen to ride into the city on a Donkey. The crowd realised that He was fulfilling a prophecy. Here comes the Messiah! They all knew it – every one of them! There was cheering and praising God, the crowd were in great spirits. The next day Jesus had gone into the temple and thrown out all the traders who were ripping off the people. It was the first time the disciples had seen him really angry.
They shared a Passover meal together, and what Jesus had done there had seemed very odd. After the meal Jesus was in a strange mood, and kept insisting they stayed awake. Then soldiers had arrived with the chief priests and Judas. Jesus was arrested.
The disciples had followed him at a distance, but kept quiet about who they were because they thought they would be next.
Then Jesus had been crucified like some common thief and the disciples had fled.
But Jesus never was predictable and after the Sabbath – the day of rest when no work is permitted – they had reports that He was alive. His body was certainly missing from the tomb.
They had quickly got together all those they could find. They carefully locked the door. No doubt they were already under suspicion of stealing His body. They were expecting to be arrested and face the same fate as their former leader.
“What are we going to do now?”
[How would you answer that question?]
Then a voice said “Peace be with you”. Not just and voice – Jesus' voice.
Peace was the one thing they most certainly didn't have. You can't have peace when you think that someone is about to arrest you and crucify you!
Or could you?
What does peace look like?
Candle is you – lit is being alive.
Fan outside events that you have no control over) puts you out (kills you inside)
shield is like peace of God and protects you from the effects – not the events themselves]
What does peace look like?
[Peace picture sequence]
Well they are certainly peaceful, but do they really represent God's peace?
Philippians 4:4 – 4:9
Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Phil 4:5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Phil 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
What peace is not?
According to Paul the peace of God is deeper than we are capable of understanding, but that does not mean we cannot get closer to understanding it.
Sometimes it is easier for us to understand what something is by looking at the opposites.
Here are some things that the peace of God is not:
Why did the disciples need peace (2)?
Let's have another look at why the disciples need God's peace.
What can't you do?
A man attended an interview for the job of Financial Director. It was a long and difficult interview, the panel asked some difficult questions. At the end of the interview the main interviewer said “I'm sorry, we are not going to offer you the job, but we would like to offer you the Managing Directors job, which is also vacant”. The man considered for a minute or two and replied. “It's very kind of you, but I really don't have the right skills and experience for that job”. The chairman replied “we think you have the right attitude and approach, and will provide you with the expert support you need”.