THE PEACH OF PEACE
I WHAT IS PEACE?
To most people peace is simply "the absence of strife." If there are no wars, we say the world is at peace; or if we aren’t fighting with our neighbors, we have neighborhood peace. But peace in the scriptures is far more than that.
In the OT peace is "shalom" which means "Wholeness, Completeness, harmony of life."
In the NT the Greek word for peace ("eirene") means "inner well-being." Augustine defined peace as, "the Tranquility of order." Putting them all together, peace can be defined as "inner calm, even in the midst of outward turmoil or calamity."
II HOW IS PEACE EXPRESSED?
Peace, like love is four directional.
Our sin separates us from God and makes us enemies of His, but by His death, Christ paid the penalty for our sin. Therefore anyone who believes on and receives Him is reconciled to God and becomes His dearest friend.
Rm. 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
A. Peace with God
Peace with God, therefore, can be maintained by not allowing sin to come between us and Him.
Isa. 48:17-18 "Thus said the Lord, your redeemer; I am the Lord your God that teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go. O that you had listened to my commandments, then your peace would’ve been like a river."
Obedience is one way to maintain peace with God the other is confession. (1 John 1:9&7) We need to keep short accounts with God- to confess and forsake our sins immediately after we do them, so that fellowship with God is not broken.
B. Peace with One Another
Eph 2:14 "For he is our peace, who has made us one, and broken down the walls between us." When Jesus is in our lives we are at peace with other believers because he has broken down the walls between us. there is no longer Jew and Gentile, Rich and Poor, Black and White, Educated and Uneducated; we are all united into one big happy family in him.
How can this peace be maintained?
In Ephesians 4:3, Paul tells us we should be "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." But how can we accomplish this? By asking for and granting forgiveness whenever one member of the body offends another - if I do something to hurt you I should RUN to you asking for forgiveness. If you hurt me I should run to you to offer forgiveness before the issue comes between us.
C. Peace with The World
Heb. 12:14a "Follow peace with all man."
Rm. 12:17 "If it be possible as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men."
Mt. 5:9 "Blessed are peace makers for they shall be called the children of God."
How do we live at peace with the world? By repaying evil with good, by repaying hostility with kindness, and by praying for those who despitefully use us. Jesus told his disciples that the world would not always treat them with respect, but that they should always respond to the worlds negativism with love and thereby maintain the peace.
D. Peace Within
Phil. 4:7 "And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall guard you hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
The Holy Spirit in our lives is our shield against turmoil and worry and frustration. He is our peace and he guards over our hearts and minds to keep these things from defeating us.
Jesus promised us this same peace in John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." That inner peace is maintained as we yield the control of our lives to the Spirit.
Col. 3:15 "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts...." and as we fix our hearts and minds on the God who is in control of all situations.
Job 22:21 "Acquaint now thyself with him and be at peace."
Rm. 8:6 "To be spiritually minded is life and peace." So peace is not the absence of strife, Peace is a state of mind; when our hearts and minds are set on God and his spirit is in control of our lives it doesn’t matter how much turmoil and calamity surrounds us, our lives can have an inner calm that passes all human understanding.
III HOW IS PEACE DEVELOPED?
By depending on the Holy Spirit to be peaceful through us.
Phil. 4:4-13 tells us what we can do:
P - Praise for everything v.4 "rejoice in
the Lord always, and again I say rejoice."
E - Everything by prayer. v.6 "Don’t
worry about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let you requests be made known to God."
A - Always think positively v.8 "Finally
brethren whatever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be and praise, think of these things."
C - Contentment in all situations v.11
"Not the I speak in respect of want, for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content."
E -Expectation of all strength v.13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
So, the better we get to know the "God of Peace" (Yahweh Shalom), the more the peace of His presence will fill our lives! And as His peace fills our hearts, we will enjoy peace with Him, peace with one another, peace with the world, and peace within.
During the coming week lets add joy and peace to the fruit of love; as we allow the holy spirit even greater control of our "inner person". Love joy and peace - the inner qualities - which will then flow out of us to others. Even as our Savior promised "Out of your inner man will flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38) Let his love, joy, and peace flow through you!
~Pastor Jim Westervelt
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