Summary: Wouldn’t it be great to be able to sit down someday & say, "I don’t have anything to worry about today. Everything in my life is in order"? That would be great, wouldn’t it? But it doesn’t happen very often.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. The subject this morning is peace. And in this world today, that subject is a major concern, isn’t it?
ILL. Now I don’t mean to be harsh, but I have little respect for some of the ideas & values proclaimed by Ted Turner, founder of the Turner Broadcasting System & the Cable News Network, & owner of the Atlanta Braves.
He is rich & powerful, & he is also strongly opposed to Christianity, openly ridiculing both Jesus & the Bible. He proclaims that mankind has no need for Christian teachings & values, & he sneers at the Ten Commandments as being dangerously archaic.
But sometimes I feel sorry for him. Two years ago in Atlanta, he told a gathering of contributors to CNN’s World Report that he wanted to see if anybody had a real vision for a world at peace & in harmony with the environment. So he bankrolled a competition to find & produce a book that would present a workable plan for world peace.
He reported, "Out of 10,000 manuscripts submitted, we did not find one plausible treatise on how to get to a sustainable, peaceful future." Then he added, "Without a feasible plan, the prospects of creating peace are grim."
B. He is absolutely right. And the tragedy of it all is that Ted Turner has easily available to him the one book that speaks of peace, of "peace that passes all understanding," & of Jesus, the one who offers us that peace.
That was what Isaiah prophesied when he wrote, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, & the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" [Isaiah 9:6].
Zechariah says, "He will proclaim peace to the nations..." [Zech. 9:10b]. The prophet Micah adds, "He will stand & shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord...they will live securely, for then His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And He will be their peace" [Micah 5:4-5].
SUM. Look at almost any of the prophecies or the angels’ announcement of the birth of Christ & you’ll find the words "peace" & "good will towards men." He is the "Prince of Peace," the source of peace. That is the promise of God.
ILL. I’m told that a man went to the doctor complaining of a number of pains. After examining him the doctor said, "I can’t find anything organically wrong with you. But sometimes physical problems are the result of worry or stress. Maybe you need to find a good counselor & tell him your troubles. He might be able to advise you & make you feel better."
"In fact," he said, "last week I had a fellow who was complaining of pains similar to yours & I couldn’t find anything wrong with him, either. But after talking a while, he told me that he was worried sick about a $5,000 debt he owed & couldn’t pay. Well, we talked about it & I was able to help him."
The man asked, "How did you help him?" "Oh, I told him that life was too short to worry about a piece of paper that said he owed $5,000. I suggested that he tear up the paper & throw it away, & stop worrying about the debt, & get on with his life. So he did. And now he feels great!"
"Yes, I know," said the guy. "I’m the one he owes the $5,000 to."
C. Life does have its share of worries & stresses & strains. Wherever we go they are present. We have been told that ours is the age of anxiety & that worry is the pervasive emotion of our time.
But wouldn’t it be great to be able to sit down someday & say, "I don’t have anything to worry about today. Everything in my life is in order."
That would be great, wouldn’t it?
But it doesn’t happen very often. We live in the midst of crowded streets & malls & last-minute Christmas shopping & cards that still need to be addressed & parties to attend & work to do. And the pressure builds.
PROP. So it is time to look at God’s promise of peace once again. In Ephesians 2, Paul talks about it & says that Christ is the source of peace in at least three directions:
I. WE CAN HAVE PEACE WITH GOD
A. First of all, Paul says that Jesus is the source of peace between God & us. We can have peace with God because of Jesus. Listen carefully to the words of Paul in Ephesians 2:13-14.
"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one & has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility."