If you spend any length of time listening to or reading what the media (conservative and liberal) are saying about politics, which is most often focused on President Trump, and social issues like racism, the anthem protests, BLM, the Alt-right, etc., you might believe our country is teetering on the brink of a major cultural war.
If you’re beginning to feel that way, you are responding to these events just as Satan, the enemy of the soul, hoped you would. You see, he wants us to live our lives in the fear and belief that the events we’re seeing in our country today are like out of control locomotives headed toward certain destruction.
Is this true? It could be true.
But my question to you, child of God, is should what we see and hear determine whether or not we get a good night’s sleep?
Should what we see and hear determine whether or not we leave our homes without fear?
Should what we see and hear determine how we interact with people?
Should what we see and hear change how we live our lives on a daily basis?
I can’t speak for you but for me the answers are a resounding “No”!
And it should be the same for you too – if you know Jesus like you claim you do. Okay, I’m starting to step on toes already. But that’s okay. We are either going to be a Christian and act like it or we are going to live a lie. Which one is it for you?
Again, Satan wants us to be emotionally involved in what we’re reading and what we’re seeing.
Some of us, ladies and gentlemen, need to change our reading and viewing habits.
Some of us need to turn off the television.
Some of us need to turn off the computers.
Instead, we need to “turn our eyes upon Jesus!” We need to start purposefully looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Why? Because Satan wants us to forget that Jesus has promised us a peace that is not us this world.
Look at John 14:27.
Peace I leave with you, my peace give I unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Jesus says that the peace He has given to us is a peace that’s foreign to the world’s view of peace. When most people talk about peace, they’re referring to having “peace and quiet” – not just “peace” but “peace and quiet” in their lives. There is nothing going on that is attacking their emotions. There is nothing going on that’s getting them out of sorts. Life is good. Things are running smoothly.
But that is not the peace Jesus is talking about.
Jesus is talking about a peace that is immune to attacks on the emotions.
Jesus is talking about a peace that is not governed by circumstances.
Jesus is talking about a peace not of this world.
Jesus, ladies and gentlemen, is talking about a supernatural peace that is not available outside the kingdom of God. Do you hear me?
Jesus is talking about a peace that is available to “aliens” – beings who are not of this world! That is you, ladies and gentlemen. That is me! We are now residents of the kingdom of God, not of the earth! We are aliens in an earth suits! Let that sink in!
Hey, Jesus was an alien in an earth suit too! And we see the things that He did in His suit. He raised the dead. He gave sight to the blind. He gave the lame new legs.
But here’s one thing we sometimes forget when talking about Jesus: Jesus walked in an unearthly type of peace. Think about it. After praying and confirming God’s will in the garden of Gethsemane He allows Himself to be captured, beaten relentless, questioned, beaten relentless again and then crucified.
Now I ask you, do you believe Jesus could have, would have, endured all of this without walking in a place of peace that knew all of this had to happen in order to fulfill the Father’s will and give us a shot at eternal life? Do you?
The Bible says in Hebrews 12:2 that Jesus “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” What was the joy that Jesus could see? What was the joy that Jesus determined made all of the suffering worth it? What was the joy? The joy, ladies and gentlemen, was not a “what”.
The joy was a “who”! We are the joy! Listen to me: Jesus endured the things He did because He said you were worth it! He said you were worth it! How can tears not be welling up inside of you right now? You are the joy He saw. I am the joy He saw. Oh my God! Thank you Jesus!
The peace that Jesus left for us is not of this world. This way of thinking is so foreign to us. And do you know what seems to be even more foreign?
Most Christians don’t believe that living and walking in peace is available to them or a place where they can choose to live.
The Bible says in First John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
The “them” in this verse is anything and everything associated with the “he” that is in this world. And who is the “he”? It’s Satan, the god of this world, the enemy of the soul. Now grab a hold of this: The Bible is telling us that there is nothing greater – stronger or more powerful – than the life we have living on the inside of us.
Are you beginning to see who you are sons and daughters of God? There is nothing under Satan’s control that is stronger and more powerful than you.
Are you beginning to understand how you are just like your Father and it the kingdom of darkness cringe to think about it? There is no devil – there is no Legion – stronger or more powerful than you.
Are you getting the picture?
How do we overcome the “them” that “he” brings into our lives? It’s very simple. We overcome everything in this world by first understanding who we are and knowing what is available to us because of who we are.
We must first know and understand who are and then we must know what we have available to us. And where do we find this information? It’s called the Bible. I call it Scripture.
For example, in Colossians 3:15 we read:
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
What do we see in this verse? We see that God has given us peace but we must “let” that peace rule or govern how we respond to the things life throws at us.
We have to “let” God because He is not going to “make” us. Do you see this?
God has given us His Word: let my peace rule in your hearts. Nothing will happen, ladies and gentlemen, until we “let” God’s peace rule our hearts. Nothing.
You can pray to God for peace. You can beg God for peace. You can give money to God for peace, which is not scriptural by the way. None of these can move God any more than He has already moved. He gave you peace the moment you were born again.
Now, you only have to do one thing. Listen to me. You only have to put aside your pride and receive it. But if you like being “worked up” over what’s going on in politics or what’s happening with social issue this or social issue that, then you are deciding that you don’t want to walk in the peace – the gift – that God has given to you. You are making that decision. You are. You are deciding to live without peace.
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s a decision I just don’t understand. Why would anyone make a decision that rejects a gift from God – a gift from their Heavenly Father?
Can you imagine how He feels when we reject what He has freely given to us?
Can you imagine how your Heavenly Father feels when we reject the gift He gives us, peace, can enable us to endure anything the world throws at us?
Can you imagine that?
Sadly, we don’t have to imagine it. We have Christian brothers and sisters living this way every day. They are rejecting their Heavenly Father’s free gift of peace every day. Every day.
Now turn with me to Galatians 5:22, 23.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
We are born again with everything we need to have peace in our lives. Bro. Barry, what do you mean when you say peace? I believe the King in the movie “Samson and Delilah” provides an example of the peace we have living and available on the inside of us.
The king declares a day of games and festivities. The coliseum is full and Samson, now blind, is the main attraction. A prison guard leads him up the steps of the temple. He stumbles and the crowd laughs and applauds. Afterwards Delilah takes the rope from the guard and leads Samson up the remaining steps. The crowd cheers. Their laughter, applause and mockery increase.
As Samson rests between two pillars he calls out to Delilah. “Delilah, leaves this place,” he says. “There will be nothing but death here. Delilah? Delilah?” She doesn’t answer. She simply fades into the shadows.
As Samson begins to push the pillars farther apart the crowd howls with laughter and begins to mock him even more. The laughter and mockery stop when the first pillar moves. The people are in disbelief.
But the king’s quiet and dignified demeanor is unchanged. Samson finally pushes the pillars from their base. As the temple collapses around him, the king simply holds up his chalice and softly says “Delilah” before being crushed.
Scripture tells us that our peace is not of this world. Turn first to Philippians 4:7.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Our peace is birthed in us by the DNA we receive from our Heavenly Father. The phrase which passeth all understanding is powerful, and it’s only available to a child of God. It’s the peace that “far exceeds anything our human intellect can conceive!
What is the “understanding” that our God-given peace passes? We find the answer in verse 6.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
The word careful literally means to be “full of care” or “to be anxious”. Over the years “careful” has come to mean “be safe”. Be careful on your way home. Be careful walking up the steps. We use it so innocently today.
Here the Bible is telling us not to be careful or anxious about anything. It is a choice we have to make. We have to choose not to care. We have to choose not to be anxious. We have the ability to make such decisions because of who we are. A person without the life and nature of God living in them cannot make such a decision. We can. We can!
As I thought about this message, I thought about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech that he delivered on April 3, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. After talking about the threats on his life, look at what he says:
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life – longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.
“And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountaintop. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m so happy tonight: I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
Dr. King walked in the peace which passeth all understanding. The threats on his life did not frighten him. The threats on his life did not deter him. He had an assignment – “to do God’s will” – and nothing was going to prevent him from completing it, including the possibility of an early death. (Pause) He was assassinated the next day.
The Apostle Paul also understood what it meant to walk in the peace which passeth all understanding. Do you remember the record in Acts 27 when Paul found himself in a ship that was being tossed to and forth by raging waves at sea? Verse 15 of the chapter tells us that the storm was so intense that the sailors lost control of the ship and let the storm decide where the ship was going.
They eventually land on an island and began the necessary task of repairing the ship. We see this in verses 16 and 17. After returning to the sea to continue their voyage, they are met again by another “tempest”. The ship is battered again and the crew loses all hope of being rescued. But read what Paul says in the midst of this situation. Let’s read verses 22 and 23.
And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve.
I simply love the phrase whose I am, and whom I serve! It’s talking about me. It’s talking about you. Let’s also read verses 24 and 25. When you know who you belong to, in this case God, you can have peace. You can have peace!
Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
When you read the epistles, we see that the Apostle Paul knew he would be taking “the road less travelled” for Jesus and the gospel. But there’s a peace, ladies and gentlemen, that is available when you truly know and trust Jesus with your life even though the road is full of trials, tribulations and hurt.
We need Godly peace to travel the road few are willing to take.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jesus has called us to “the road less travelled”. There are so many passages where he tells the disciples, and us, that life would be difficult but not to worry. Simply trust in Him.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto ou, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they also will persecute you; if they have kept my sayings, they will keep yours also. (John 15:18-20)
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
As I read this, I thought about how Jesus foretells the coming of horrific weather events like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Jose a couple of months ago. To me, the most important thing Jesus says is this: see that ye be not troubled – afraid or frightened – because these things are going to come to pass.
When we know something is going to happen and we know that Jesus has told us not to be troubled when it does happen, we can have peace no matter what. Why? Because Jesus tells us we can. But we have to choose to believe Him. Our attitude has to be “Jesus says not to be troubled, not to worry, so I won’t!”
Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse we’re all familiar with. I’ll read it first out of the King James and then out of the Amplified Bible.
The King James says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Now the Amplified. “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.”
When we get to the point in our lives when what people say or what people do does not determine how we respond, does not change our mood, then we are walking in the peace Jesus has given to us.
A quiet mind, ladies and gentlemen, lives in victory because it listens to and follows the leading of the new nature.
Remember the record in I Kings 19 where God came to Elijah but he didn’t do it through a strong wind or earthquake or fire? It says the Lord came as a still small voice. For us today, that’s John 16:13.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.
When you are walking in peace, you are not really concern about what is going to happen. Why? Because you will seek the Lord’s face to find out what you need to do when it happens. You will have a plan to deal with whatever comes. He will give you the wisdom to “ride this out” – whatever it is.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jesus says in John 14:1 – “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
Jesus says “Peace I leave with you, my peace give I unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Yes, this is the third time we’ve read this verse! When Jesus says live in the peace I’ve given to you and don’t be afraid of anything, “I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told to me”!