Summary: This sermon describes what it means to have peace and briefly touches on the importance of sharing that peace with others.
June 27, 2004 The Peace that Passes Understanding
Asaph once wrote, I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. (Ps 73:3-5) When we talk about peace, it sometimes appears that some of the most peaceful people are pagans. They don’t often think about hell or damnation. The law doesn’t scare them. They think in their minds, “I’m pretty good.” Paul once said, Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. (Ro 7:9) As an unbeliever, Paul used to enjoy his life. Then the law that he enjoyed started putting him to death and making him miserable. That’s the way unbelievers often are. They don’t pay much attention to their consciences. They love their sports, their riches, and their wines and beers. They have nice homes and enjoy nice jobs, often times they even have seemingly happy families. But in the long run, their peace runs out. Even if all their bills are paid, they may have health problems. Even if their families are running smoothly, sooner or later someone will get in trouble or something will go wrong. Paul also reminds us that, While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Th 5:3) This kind of peace is not the kind of peace that lasts forever.
As a matter of fact, Jesus warns Christians that life isn’t about that kind of peace. When you are brought to faith in Christ, you are put into the middle of a war. Jesus said, “I haven’t come to bring peace but a sword.” He then went on to explain that mothers would be turned against daughters, fathers against sons, and so on.” Jesus also said that “you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Mt 24:9-14) That doesn’t sound like peace to me. So if we expect a physical and mental peace to happen on this earth, we’re only fooling ourselves. This is no better than the peace of Neville Chamberlain, who after trying to negotiate peace with Hitler assured everyone that there would be, “Peace in our time.” He was living in a dream world. So are you if you think as Christians you’ll never have any unrest.
When we look at the life of God’s people in the Scriptures - we don’t find them sitting around and enjoying the quiet life all too often. Consider David for instance. Nathan told him that as a result of his sin that, the sword will never depart from your house. (2 Samuel 12:10) For the rest of his life, David had to endure the results of sin.
• His son that was born of Bathsheba died.