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My Peace I Give To You

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We've been studying together in the Gospel of John, The Word Made Flesh, and we've been parked at the night of Jesus' arrest for several Sundays now, and we continue tonight as we move forward in John 14. Jesus makes a statement here in John 14 that I think is so important for us to grab a hold of in the world in which we live. We live in a world that is filled with stress. There are a lot of stressors in life. It might be financial, it might be health, it might be relationships, whatever the source of it is, it seems that the more the world advances, the more stress advances as well. The more we move from a culture that is family built to a culture that is individual built the more stresses seem to come into our lives.

Now the world tries to answer this with its own version of peace. The world tries to give peace, but what we discover is the world's peace is, first of all, truce, which means that in order to have the world's peace, people have to be in agreement. You can't just have peace on your own in the world if other people are not in agreement about that peace. You have to have everybody getting along. And that becomes a monumental task. In fact, it becomes an impossible task because the world is filled with sin. It's filled with selfishness. It's filled with hatred. It's filled with all of the abominable natures of man that are constantly swamping any attempt at peace.

In fact, waving the flag of peace, pursuing peace in the world, has led to some of the most atrocious and horrific acts of mankind. In attempts at achieving peace have come some of the most horrible of wars and battles and destruction that man has ever known.

At the time that Jesus is ministering on the earth, the Pax Romana is in effect...Roman peace...but it's a peace that was achieved by a mighty sword. It's a peace that exists because of the military might and ruthlessness of the Roman government. The Jews are looking for a Messiah, One who can free them from Roman rule, from the Roman sword, but in their mind is the idea that it's going to take a Messiah with an even stronger sword, a mightier sword. So they're looking for a Messiah who comes riding in on that white horse, One who will overthrow the Roman government, One who will be like a David and try to achieve peace through strength and through the sword...a sword mightier than the Romans.

But instead, there is a Messiah, Jesus, who is going to bring in a peace that is not going to come from a mightier sword, but it comes from an innocent Man dying cruelly on a Cross at the hands of the Romans and the Jews and you and me. The peace that Jesus offers is so different than the peace the world offers.

In John 14, Jesus is addressing a group of disciples who are anxious. Their hearts are agitated. He begins John 14 by saying, "Don't let your hearts be agitated. Don't let your hearts be troubled." And He begins to offer them the promises that are going to come only as He goes to the Cross…the joy they can have, the love they are to show one another, all that are products of Him, this innocent Man, offering Himself to the hands of the Romans.

And in John 14:27, He concludes that statement by saying, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." He ends where He began, "Don't let your heart be troubled." He addresses an issue of the human heart that is so common to us that it's something that transcends economies, it transcends generations. They were stressed in this first century, and we are stressed in the twenty-first century.

And the issue Jesus addresses is not a nostalgic issue for the disciples. It's not one that is bound in history, but it's one that every person here deals with in life. And Jesus is not just talking about the peace that will come in heaven, but He is actually speaking of a peace we can have here and now. And that is what I want to talk to you about this morning. "My peace I give to you."

Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you." Now in and of itself, this peace is a greeting. It's one that the Jews would give when they met and when they said farewell. It was the Hebrew shalom, and even today the greeting among Jews is shalom. But Jesus adds, "Peace I leave with you." And the word there for leave is the idea of bequeathing. It's when someone dies and they leave you their inheritance. They leave you something in their will.

Jesus is about to go. He is about to die. And so on one side of this word peace is the idea that He is leaving it with them, that He is going to depart from them, and He is going to leave as His inheritance for them a peace...a peace only He can leave, a peace He owns, one He is able to give to them.

But we also know three days after His death, praise God, Jesus is resurrected from the dead. And so this peace carries a very heavy meaning. It has a dual meaning to it. It's not only the peace that Jesus is going to leave for the disciples to help through these times of agitation and trouble, but it's a peace that they're going to be able to carry with them with His blessing and His assistance.

Along with this peace, He is going to bequeath to them the Holy Spirit here. That is going to be carried forward as we study. And both of these come not only as the result of Jesus' death, but more importantly because of His resurrection. And it's a peace you and I can have today. And I want us to just dwell on this very simple concept of shalom, of peace...a peace that Israel does not experience in the world even today, but a peace that is available to every one of us no matter what side of a continental border we live on if we trust Christ and accept the gift He has to give us.

Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you." You know, the peace of Jesus is described in several places in Scripture, and one thing we learn about it is that it's different from the world. It's not the peace that comes as the cessation of hostilities. It's not a peace that can be bought. In fact, it's not a peace that is described as there being happiness and joy and bluebirds singing. It is a peace that is within us and a peace that allows an individual to endure anything that comes along.

We don't think of peace in the world if there is conflict going on, but in Jesus' definition of peace, peace transcends conflict. Peace can be had even when your personal life is turned upside down. It is the peace of Christ that is the hallmark of what living the Christian life is all about in this world. In fact, many commentators would say that the peace of Christ is the definition of the kingdom of God. It is what the kingdom we talk about, that we invite people to join, it is its marker. We have a peace about us. Those who are members of the kingdom of God today can enjoy a peace that the world simply does not know.

If you turn with me over to Philippians...In Philippians, chapter 4 and verse 7, it says...Paul, talking about the things he desires the Philippians to have. Back in verse 6, he says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." In verse 7, the result is "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

One aspect of the peace of Christ, the peace that Christ gives, that peace that comes as the result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the guidance and the leadership that He is able to give is that we have a peace that transcends all understanding. In other words, it transcends the circumstances. Our understanding might be in the moment that we have a turmoil, that we have a trauma, that we have a crisis, and our understanding is that we need to be fearful, that we need to be agitated, that we need to be troubled. But the peace of God is such that it transcends our understanding of how to respond to conflict. It surpasses, transcends, all understanding.

And what it does instead...and if you don't have it, you need to listen very carefully, okay? guards us. It garrisons our heart. In other words, we can view trauma and bad news and broken relationships and financial difficulties as enemies wanting to attack our very soul, but the peace of God is strong enough to guard our hearts. It is strong enough to fend off the fear that the world ushers in with all the travails of this life.

Now listen. This world is short and full of difficulties. Life is short and full of trouble. The Bible tells us that. It's not that you can find a way to escape all the problems. No, not at all. But the peace of Christ will go past our ability to understand it, and it'll guard us. It'll help us get through it. It'll keep us from being defeated by sometimes our very own conscience.

You know, one of the biggest enemies you'll have in any difficulty in life is your own mind because you'll worry, you'll stress, you'll ulcerate, you'll get so concerned and consumed that your own mind will begin to send off adrenaline. It'll begin to send off different chemicals into your body. You can actually begin to physically suffer because of an emotional trauma in your life. The peace of God helps to fend all of that off. In fact, it does fend it all off. It is the garrison. It is the guard. It is the wall.

When the psalmist said, "You are my strong tower," this is what he is saying. It wasn't that David wasn't being chased by Saul and all of his men at the time. It wasn't that David found himself alone surrounded by just a bunch of hoodlums as his friends. It wasn't that his life was stellar by the world's comparisons. No! No, he is out in the wilderness. He is rummaging for food and water. He is trying to survive, and yet he says, "You are my strong tower." Why? Because from within, he finds the peace of God that transcends any circumstance in life.

I don't know what your stress is today. I do know that it is such as is common to man. I may not experience the specific thing you're going through, but I may well have experienced the same setting you're going through. I may not know particularly what you're suffering, but there is someone here in this fellowship who does. There are those who've gone through your circumstances with the peace of God. Yes, they've gone fully through those, but God found a way of escape for them. God found a way for them to get through it. God gave them a peace.

If we want a world where there is no trauma, where there is no tragedy, where there are no broken relationships, where there are no financial troubles, where there is no war, well then, hang on because that world is coming! But in this world, there are going to be wars and rumors of wars. There are going to be difficulties and trials in life. That is the sin-filled world in which we live. But Christ can give us a peace. Christ can confuse people by giving you such a peace that when someone gives you terrible news, you just say, "Praise the Lord." You just say, "Thank You, God, for getting me through this day."

A peace that is so confusing to the world that they might want to commit you! They might want to think they haven't correctly explained it to you. And yet you fully know what you're facing. You fully know the difficulty, but you also fully know your Lord, and you know His strength that pounds and circulates spiritually from within you. Jesus said, "My peace I give to you."

In Colossians 3, verse 15, Paul tells the church at Colossae, "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." The peace of God not only guards against the onslaught of the world's troubles that come at the believer, but the peace of Christ also serves as a referee. That is what the word for rule here means. It arbitrates, and it arbitrates among believers.

In the context of the setting of Colossians 3, what Paul is telling that church is that the peace of Christ has a community effect as well, that among believers the peace of Christ can rule and arbitrate the situations. It's not just, in other words, that you're out there on an island by yourself when you're a believer. You're in a fellowship. God designed it so that we would be in fellowship with one another, and when difficulties arise, not only are our hearts guarded through that, but the Spirit of God, when the believers are working in unison and that one body he talks about in that verse, it arbitrates. It rules. It shows the direction that needs to be taken. It rules in our hearts. It shows us the decisions we need to make.

Maybe you're at a crossroads today, and you're agitated, you're stressed about needing to turn to the right or turn to the left. The peace of God is a referee. It shows you the right way to go. You think about one way, and there are nothing but troubles and a little emptiness. You think about the other way, and there is a peace about that decision. There is a confidence in that. Oh my friends, don't underestimate the power of the Spirit of God there, that He is showing you, He is ruling, He is showing you where His peace is to be found in which directions to take in life. The peace of God is a powerful thing. It draws us, it shines a light for us, and it shows us how to walk through the most difficult of circumstances if we'll only listen to God's peace.

I don't know what decisions you may have in your life, what confusion there may be in your life, but if you are a believer, you have the Holy Spirit of God. And the Holy Spirit of God desires to show you His peace, and He will show it to you in giving you peace about the decisions you need to make in life.

You need to try that. You need to think about decision A for a few days, and then just think about decision B for a few days, and see which one gives you peace. See where it is that God would lead you. God is not hidden behind a rock up in space somewhere, impossible to get to unless we yell and scream. He is closer than a brother. He is nearer to us than anyone else. He doesn't hide His will from us. He desires to show us His will. And whatever blindness we have, that is our mind, that is this world blinding us to the clear directions that God has for our life. That is the world trying to win that battle of agitation and trouble.

Jesus tells us back in John 14:27, "My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you." And then He says in conclusion, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." You see, the world offers a peace that is shallow, that is empty.

If you turn back with me to Jeremiah, in the 6th chapter, we have a description of the world's peace. In verse 13: "Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, 'Peace, peace!' When there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush."

You see, we live in a world that doesn't even know how to blush, a world that makes false claims, that deals falsely in its promises of peace, one that gives temporary healing. It heals slightly. It says, "Peace, peace!" but there is no peace. But the very people who claim they know the answers to peace, who lie boldfacely about that, they don't even blush at the fact that they can't bring what they offer.

Oh, people all through the world, world leaders, different ones, they're always saying, "This is the answer to peace. This is what we need to do to have peace," and they don't even blush at the fact that their answers do not work, that their answers are only slightly helpful.

Jesus offers not a temporary healing, my friend. He offers a permanent cure. He offers a healing that'll transcend whatever the circumstances are of your life. And so Jesus says, "My peace is not the world's peace." Jesus is going to show the kind of peace that He has. He is about to be arrested. He is about to be beaten and flogged. He is about to be taken through three illegal trials. He is about to be hung on a Cross as an innocent Man. He is about to die for the sins of people who don't even yet believe in Him or trust in Him.

And yet through it all, how is Jesus able to do all of this? Because He has peace. He has a peace. And it's a peace He is leaving to you and to me. Jesus has a peace of such magnitude that even we can endure the hostilities that want to come into this world against us.

When Jesus walked with the disciples, they counted on Him, but they didn't yet have this peace. You'll remember one night when the storm rises on a boat and Jesus is asleep in the back, Jesus is right there with them, and yet what do we see with the disciples? They're all upset. They're all scared. They're all afraid they're going to die. They don't yet have that peace in their hearts. They have Jesus, but they don't have that peace.

I wonder if that is you today, if you've not brought out that peace that Jesus leaves with you. And so though you are a believer, or at least say you're a believer, you're so easily upset by bad news, so easily upset by things in this world not going right. Maybe even thinking, Woe is me! Things are happening to me that don't happen to other people. And yet Jesus is sitting there offering you a peace that could let you sleep in the back of a boat during a storm, a peace that would let you be accused in three different trials falsely and not say a word, a peace that would let you be nailed to a Cross to die for sins you did not commit. That is the peace God offers.

Now to the world, that is a weakness. To the world, we fight back. But the world has no answer to peace either. But Jesus does, and He offers it to everyone of us if we'll only receive it by faith.

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