Summary: In Christ there is peace.
Several years ago a retired couple was alarmed by the threat of nuclear war, so they undertook a serious study of all the inhabited places on the globe. Their goal was to determine where in the world would be the place to be least likely affected by a nuclear war—a place of ultimate security. They studied and traveled, traveled and studied. Finally they found the place. They moved to their new home—in the Falkland Islands. However, their "paradise" was soon turned into a war zone by Great Britain and Argentina (Illustrations Unlimited, 402).
So many today are like that couple searching for peace. It’s obvious that our world needs peace. There is an absence of peace on this planet. Peace is lacking between nations and between races; it’s lacking in homes and in hearts.
On the night of Christ’s birth, the angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14).
However, since that glorious evening, this world has seen very little peace. Why not? Ultimately it is because this world has not embraced Jesus Christ. And there is no peace apart from Him.
CHRIST IS OUR PEACE.
"FOR HE IS OUR PEACE. . . ."
"The Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6)
"This man shall be the peace" (Micah 5:5)
In the end, Jesus Christ will bring peace to this earth. But until then, He is bringing peace to people in other ways.
CHRIST HAS MADE PEACE. He is our Peacemaker.
First, HE HAS MADE PEACE BETWEEN MAN AND GOD.
Second, HE HAS MADE PEACE AMONG MEN.
The root cause of all hostility is the pride of man.
Pride is what led to man’s first act of disobedience. Adam and Eve said, "We don’t want to do what God says. Who is God to tell us what to do. We will do what we want to do." That’s pride. And it led to the hostility between man and God.
The same is true with our relationship with one another.
I. CHRIST HAS MADE PEACE AMONG MEN (vv. 14b-15).
". . . WHO HATH MADE BOTH ONE. . . ."
"BOTH" refers to Jews and Gentiles. Christ has made them one. How has He done this?
A. He broke down the wall between them (vv. 14b-15a).
". . . AND HATH BROKEN DOWN THE MIDDLE WALL OF PARTITION BETWEEN US; HAVING ABOLISHED IN HIS FLESH THE ENMITY, EVEN THE LAW OF COMMANDMENTS CONTAINED IN THE ORDINANCES. . . ."
1. The wall between Jews and Gentiles caused division.
A "WALL OF PARTITION" divides.
2. The wall between Jews and Gentiles caused hostility.
"ENMITY" means "hostility."
3. The wall between Jews and Gentiles was caused by "THE LAW OF COMMANDMENTS CONTAINED IN THE ORDINANCES."
4. The wall between Jews and Gentiles was abolished "IN [CHRIST’S] FLESH."
B. He united them by creating the Church (v. 15b).
". . . FOR TO MAKE IN HIMSELF OF TWAIN ONE NEW MAN, SO MAKING PEACE."
1. The Church is something completely new.
"For to MAKE in himself of twain one new man, so making peace."
"MAKE" really means "create."
2. The Church is formed in Christ.
"For to make IN HIMSELF of twain one new man, so making peace."
3. The Church is a new race.
"For to make in himself of twain ONE NEW MAN, so making peace."
a. We are born into this new race.
b. We are all equal in this new race.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).
Pride is the greatest cause of conflict within churches.
An admirer once asked Leonard Bernstein, the celebrated orchestra conductor, what was the hardest instrument to play. He replied without hesitation: "Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm or second French horn or second flute, now that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony" (Illustrations Unlimited, 450).
Without humility, there is no harmony.
Someone once said, "Pride is the ground in which all other sins grow." From pride comes selfishness, criticism, gossip, complaining, and conflict.
A few years ago two ministers got into a fight about what they considered to be an important doctrinal matter. They settled the fight when the first minister told the second: "Look, what are we fighting for? We’re both striving to do the Lord’s work. You do it your way and I’ll do it his way!" (Illustrations Unlimited, 90).
The pastor of a small souther church was on his way home when he met an acquaintance from town who was not a member of his church. After chatting a while the man was asked how many members he had. The pastor responded, "Fifty active members." The friend said, "My, that certainly speaks well for you." But the pastor responded, "Well, I wouldn’t say that. All fifty are active—but twenty-five are actively working for me and the other twenty-five are actively working against me" (Illustrations Unlimited, 90-91).