Summary: The Shepherd benediction
Reading: Hebrews chapter 13 verse 20-21.
Robert Chapman is not too well known among Christians.
• He did not author any monumental books.
• His friends said he would never make a good preacher.
• Chapman was not a world-wide evangelist. He lead no great mission to foreign lands;
• Instead he laboured for 70 years in a small town in a remote corner of England.
• Yet he became a living legend.
• A man who God used to great effect.
• As a young man, Winston Churchill was taken to visit him.
• Charles Spurgeon called him: "the saintliest man I ever knew."
• John Nelson Darby said of Robert Chapman: "He lives what I teach."
• On another occasion Darby said: "We talk of the heavenliest, but Robert Chapman lives in them."
• Chapman was very much one of the ‘Chief Men Among the Brethren’;
• An early leader in our type of Churches.
• One morning R. C. Chapman was asked how he was feeling.
• “I’m burdened this morning!” was his reply.
• But his happy countenance contradicted his words.
• So the questioner exclaimed in surprise, “Are you really burdened, Mr. Chapman?”
• “Yes, but it’s a wonderful burden - it’s an overabundance of blessings for which I cannot find enough time or words to express my gratitude!”
• Seeing the puzzled look on the face of his friend, Chapman added with a smile,
• “I am referring to Psalm 68:19, which fully describes my condition.
• In that verse the Father in heaven reminds us that He
• ‘daily loads us with benefits.’”
Of the five hundred plus blessings contained in the Bible:
• Hebrews chapter 13 verse 20-21 contains, to quote Chapman out of context:
• “An overabundance of blessings”
(1). God of peace
“May the God of peace”
Someone has said,
• "The world is so full of problems; that if Moses were to come down from Mt. Sinai today,
• The two tablets He would carry would be aspirin."
• As humorous as that might be,
• It does paint a sad scenario of a world greatly lacking in peace.
The writer of this letter uses this title ‘God of peace’ six times in this letter;
• ill: I think that nearly all other New Testament writers at the start of their letters;
• Use the word ‘peace’ in their opening greetings and salutations of their letters.
• Peace is a quality that is sourced, it is rooted in God;
• And is an attribute, a quality, it is a fruit in the life of the Christian.
Note: The expression "Peace" is normally used in two ways in the Bible.
• There is personal peace with God;
• This comes when a person accepts Jesus Christ as Saviour.
• Ill: Theological term is reconciliation – two opposing parties are brought together.
• Then, there is the peace of God;
• Which is available on a daily basis AS we walk in fellowship with God.
• Quote: Charles Swindoll:
• He suggests a practical paraphrase of this term ‘Peace of God’
• Would be the expression: ‘Mental health’.
• In other words God desires that each Christian experience;
• A calm, a tranquil, a peace within their hearts and not a panic or strife or discord.
• This type of peace mentioned in this verse is divine in origin:
• The writer is not talking about a general peace, he talks about a specific peace “of GOD!”
• “God’s peace is both inward and outward,
• Both a matter of how we are within ourselves and how we are related to others.
• It is both horizontal and vertical.
• It is concerns our relationships on earth and above all how we are related to God.”
So, where you find peace mentioned in the Bible it refers either to:
• The reconciliation of a Christian to God in salvation;
• Or to the mental mind-set that should be found in the believer.
• So the New Testament teaches that “we have peace WITH God”;
• And as a result we can experience “the peace OF God”.
Question: Why use this expression here?
Answer: Most commentators suggest that this title for God is used by the writer;
• Because there was conflict and not peace in the fellowship;
• There was disunity among God’s people over the issues addressed in this letter.
• And so the only way to bring harmony and healing into any situation;
• Is to fix your eyes on God who has given us peace with himself through Jesus!
• And that ought to lead to us experiencing peace with other people.
• Ill: Domino effect – God accepts us with our faults & failings – so should we!