Summary: Three kinds of preachers of peace. (#22 in the Every Spiritual Blessing series)
“And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near,”
Never in history, since the day Cain murdered his brother, has there been a time when men couldn’t look around them and ask, ‘where is peace?’ For the world has no peace and despite it’s relentless search will never find peace, outside of Jesus Christ.
Why? Because they search for it in absolute darkness, and for the most part their search is half-hearted and insincere.
In the political realm the plea for peace usually translates into ‘you give in to my demands’. ‘It’s almost voting time; let’s have a cease-fire’. ‘Cough up the oil, and nobody gets hurt’.
But peace with God was lost when man rebelled against His love, and those without peace with God, can never have the peace of God; which only is lasting peace.
I want to look at some preachers of ‘peace’ today, and see how the various ones differ in their message, and why the message itself dictates the success or failure of peace.
The first group of preachers of peace we’ll see belong to the negative side of the equation. They are what Jesus referred to as false teachers. Or false prophets. In Matthew 7:15 He warned,
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
Jesus was warning against those He knew would come after Him, and indeed, were present at the same time He was. In point of fact; He could very well have said, ‘like the poor, the false prophets you will always have with you’.
Because He knew well that the presence of these deceivers already permeated history.
They were the ones who convinced the post-diluvian society that they should build a mighty tower up to God, so they had to be confused and scattered by God in order to make them go to their appointed places of habitation.
False prophets were the ones who grumbled against Moses and convinced the people to make a golden calf that they might worship.
They were the ones whose message has always been one of peace and prosperity, by the circumvention of God’s decrees and doing things according to the flesh. The easy way. But like the song says, “Takin’ the easy way isn’t an easy way...”
The natural tendency of fallen man is to look for the quick fix; take away the pain and all will be ok. And false teachers, puppets of satanic influence and authorities, have always taken advantage of that weakness, and always will.
God denounced these charlatans in chapter 6 of Jeremiah’s prophecy when He said, “And they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying ‘Peace peace’, But there is no peace.”
And that’s just one example. We see this repeated several more times in Jeremiah, and also in Ezekiel. False prophets being denounced and their punishment predicted, by God, Whose judgment on them is that they deceive His people by declaring peace when there is no peace.
This is at the root of every false religion; every crooked televangelist or radio preacher, or so-called pastor of even mainline denominations of the Christian faith, who promise prosperity, and positive answers to our prayers for health and comfort and deliverance from trial, asserting that if we say just the right prayer, or give a certain amount of money to their cause, God is somehow duty-bound to pour out His blessings.
The false preachers of peace boast of mighty things in themselves, and promise all who will give them ear that if their faith is strong enough, they too will do marvelous things for God, and God will open the windows of Heaven and pour out His blessing.
If you listen closely and pay attention to what their real message is, you will find that they are preaching a god who wants to coddle you and dote on you like a spoiled brat, and all you have to do is be fervent in the exercise of your religious duties, and mumble just the right prayer words, and you’ve got this god practically obligated to acquiesce to your demands.
In the end what they have really accomplished is to turn you entirely away from the path of faith and obedience in the one true God, given you a false sense of rightness and security for the moment, and set you up for a very destructive fall.
In Matthew 7:16 - 23 Jesus warns His disciples to be aware of their fruit and judge them accordingly; then He points out that they will not enter heaven based upon their works; for no matter what pious and religious deeds their resume may boast, it is knowing Him that opens the portals of heaven for the weary traveler, and nothing else.