Pass the Peace Please
My second most favorite time of the year Christmas being the first I have to confess that guy already put the Christmas lights on the house. And I'm still not done I was going to do I was going to do it all out, you know the whole house and everything until I took a look at the pitch of the roof and Rick. I'm not you. I know that you would have said all that's nothing. But I could just see me tumbling falling down from the roof and having to do service from the hospital and didn't want to do that.
But many of you this week or going to gather together with family, which should be a wonderful time of fun and fellowship some of you play football afterwards or watch football or eat, but I don't know what you do and what sometimes it's it's a lot of stress. sometimes we have that relative that shows up and critiques all are cooking or sometimes you have that that's friend that you you sometimes just wonder is there any filter to their mouth and some of the things that they say and then sometimes it's unavoidable. There's going to be a conflict. I don't know about you. I don't like conflicts. Okay, when I took this this personality test that royal family makes everybody do okay and they have the four colors. You have yellow. I still don't know what a yellow is, but I am a yellow.
There's the green there the people Pleasers the blues are the organizers. I'm glad we have Marissa in the office. We would be in trouble without her. I'll tell just telling you we would we would cuz everybody else is yellow. You know yellow is just wait till the very last minute to get anything done. The blues are the ones that that hold everything together. Then he got the Reds. They're the ones in charge. I'm a red if I have to be I'm not a wannabe red. I hate you if I have to be I'll be a red but I don't like it. Okay, because I like I like pleasing people. I like everybody be happy. Everybody have a Smile everybody feel good. Then sometimes when you get a bunch of people together conflict happens and I stress out I just do So we're going to have Thanksgiving meal this weekend. Sometimes what was supposed to be a wonderful event and sometimes turn into an argument or feelings even even broken relationships because we live in a broken world and because of the effect of sin with the bounds conflicts are an ever-present possibility. I wish it wasn't so but it's even a possibility that Christian believers. Candy can experience and obviously we're going to to need to be aware of it. And we need to figure out how we could be prepared for it. So you might say this is this is all about preparing you for Thanksgiving meal. Okay this whole lesson. In fact, I found this title online that I like so much pasta piece, please, okay. But obviously it's not an issue that we just face at the holidays if you're married conflict. If you have children conflict. If you go to work or school conflict, if you go shopping especially on Black Friday definite conflict, okay. You can even have conflict going to church on a Sunday morning. Conflict will happen it's inevitable. Okay, and sometimes the flash things to take over and we didn't mean to break the peace but it happens sometimes and a problem righteous indignation Rises up to what we say something. We shouldn't say and then we can take it back. But Jesus has called his followers to be workers of Peace. Did you know that? See it is Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior who is referred by the prophet Isaiah as the Prince of Peace. It is Jesus that gives us this promise in Matthew 5 verse 9 blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children. of God Jesus knew that his followers would face adversity of many kinds and these challenges would become more and more apparent as the community Community of Faith with develop and establish and grow. It's in Jesus knows what's going to happen. Nothing is a surprise to Jesus. In fact, even in the time of Jesus's Ministry a conflict happen among his disciples. James and John and their mother were interested in elevating themselves to a position of authority and fame and recognition and all the other disciples group very frustrated over this. See there's a a conflict of position that happens when somebody gets that promotion that we didn't like or somebody wants to to to to to be in and some other kind of position and we just we said they didn't deserve that. I wanted that I wanted that position. Then there's the conflict the practice that we saw in the early church when some observe certain dietary restrictions and others don't free to eat anything they want if there was there was deep frustration in conflict and arguing. And then there were the conflicts of disagreement Paul and Barnabas.
There was John Mark this this young man John Mark. And John Mark worked for Paul and he quit on Paul on a missionary journey. Now they're on another missionary journey and John Mark wants to be part of the team again and Mark says absolutely no way your Twitter. I don't want you to be part of my teeth, but there's Barnabas. Barnabas, what does his name mean? Son of encouragement? I think encourage the encourager. Okay second chance. 8 ball says no way. Am I mean Paul? Just let me just parts off Line in the Sand and he says I am not budging on this one and Mmm, good ol Barnabas I can just imagine imagine Barnabas the sweet talkin very just humble nature kind of person. We got to let Mark get another chance in this and then pauses no and Men band Barnabas says, yes, and then an argument you think can Christians argue. Yes.
Who's right and who's wrong Bible?
Did you know you could be both right in an argument?
In fact, it was so bad that they've had to go their separate ways. Then there's a conflict of misunderstanding. There were the Grecian Jews in the church and there were the hebraic Jews in the church and and and and and one group thought that they weren't getting the benevolence funds as they were when M and there was this great big Schism about ready to develop conflict happened even in the early church that you know that And I'll guarantee you it was no fun. Then as it's no fun now. So what do we do? See it takes courage to face conflict and become an instrument God uses to encourage reconciliation forgiveness and love. That's what it's all about friends. Jesus Calling Believers to be his instruments of peace.
To facilitate the restoration of peace between people that's what God's calling us. And that's what God has.
So I think there's some things we need to look at this morning about being a peacemaker that Jesus Christ himself called us to be. first of all peacemaking begins with our personal relationship with Jesus Christ with God since I'm going to tell you you cannot engage in the ministry of reconciliation and the ministry of peace without having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and it's more than just a date on the calendar and say that's when I got said saved it is an ongoing personal intimate relationship with God that facilitates and cost of the ministry of Peace working enough and through us. The Apostle Paul wrote in in Romans chapter 5 verse 1 therefore since we have been justified by faith. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ God's grace his unmerited his unearned favor received by our faith are complete trust in him and his provision of Salvation it is it is that piece that that is is cultivated in a person walk with God. That's genuinely genuinely brains and realistically and empowered ways of bringing peace into our life without Christ and it's free gift of Salvation are relationship with God is broken and we exist in turmoil. So we shouldn't be surprised that our world is filled with turmoil. But friends when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ something comes over us. It doesn't make sense.
I mean when we look at our life, sometimes we should be panic-stricken running around like a chicken or turkey with its head cut off. But then something comes over how have you ever experienced it? Where there is this the supernatural peace that comes into your life? You say this doesn't make sense. I should be panicked. I should be running around. I should I should be shaking my fist I should be mad at somebody but there's something that comes into my life because it's not in his Supernatural relationship that we have in him that brings peace into our life. see without God's peace ruling in our life Through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We can easily become.
Or possessed attitude of arrogance on one side or worthlessness on the other side. Where we on one side have this attitude? It's my way or the highway and I don't care what anybody says. I know better than everybody else and we're going to do it and I don't care what people think and then on the other side we have those that feel like Lord. I'm worthless. I don't deserve anything. I'm nothing what everybody says about me. It's true and you just feel horrible about yourself and I will tell you that without the love and the grace of God we can fall into one account. Okay, but We need to recognize that God's ultimate provision of peace is discovered in the person and the work of Jesus Christ. I want you to understand that because my second point is going to really facilitate that it is only through Christ that peace with God can be achieved and maintained. To be a peacemaker you need to have peace with God if you don't have peace with God you're not going to have peace with anyone else. It just won't. And that leads to the second point. Peacemaking is patterned after Jesus Christ. Look at Jesus and you will see what a peacemaker is all about.
Should we see peace through Jesus's teaching? I didn't put the scripture on the on the slide, but but there's John 16:33. Jesus said I have said these things to you that in me, you will have peace in the world. You will have tribulation, but take heart I have overcome the world. All Jesus's teachings lead us to having peace with God's. But not only did Jesus demonstrate these in his teaching he demonstrated peace in his ministry. in Mark 4 verse 39 the scripture says and he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the CC peace be still they were in this torrential storm on on the lake. The disciples were confident all was lost. They were going to die. In fact, Jesus had the audacity to be sleeping in the storm.
You know, sometimes we feel like that we're going through a storm of life and we thank God sleeping. Okay?
He knew that nothing was going to stand in his way. If it's filling the call that the father gave to him. The song when the disciples walked a message.
Houston panic only dad was he said? He said peace be still. And the wind ceased and there was great calm. And then he said to his disciples. Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith and they were filled with great fear and said to one another who then is this that even the wind and the Sea obey him? Jesus has the authority to give peace. And when we recognized that Christ is the living example of what genuine piece is all about. We can begin to learn how to put peace into our life in Ann Arbor relationships. Not only was Jesus's. Jesus demonstrated peace in his ministry buddy he demonstrated peace in his death I don't know about you. But the way Jesus died. It was hard to find peace in that. When you're when you're you're being brutalized by people, it's hard to have peace when you're being whipped to shreds. It's hard to Fathom that Jesus could understand and demonstrate peace and that
but we're reminded in Colossians chapter 1 verse 19 for in him for in Christ. All the fullness of God was pleased to dwell and threw him to reconcile to himself all things whether on Earth or in heaven Making Peace by the blood of his cross. You see what Jesus demonstrated their it was through the precious blood of Jesus. That he has facilitated. Peace in our life. Not only through his death but also through his resurrection.
Fact he was after his resurrection. He was meeting with his disciples who were very much afraid still. I think they were so overwhelmed they weren't sure if it was even true that what they were really seeing was Jesus said they saw Jesus on the cross. Midway them in the Tomb
and no just a few days later. They see Jesus Christ face to face and they don't even know if it's him. Cuz their mind and soul.
Why does incredible miracle? but in John 20 verse 19
we're reminded of what Jesus did. As he defeated held up from the grave. On the evening of that day the first day of the week the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Big World. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them peace be with you. When he had said that she showed them his hands in his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again peace be with you as the father has sent me even so I am sending you see when we keep our eyes on Jesus Piece gums.
During Jesus's Earthly Ministry. He demonstrated over and over and over again the principal of Peace. He healed the sick giving them peace setting the demoniac free from demon for giving them. Peace. Kiefer gay people up there since he gave them. Peace. as followers of Jesus Christ, we need to follow him and his ministry of peacemaking you see that See what Jesus did we need to do? And Jesus was always an instrument of peace and we need to be instruments of Peace of well as well. But there's something else that we need to understand about peace being a peacemaker. Peacemaking is a gift given to every believer. Did you hear that? Because some may think what I don't have the gift of Peace somebody else does. I have the gift of being critical.
What I'm telling you, I'm not found the gift of being critical has one of the spiritual gifts in God's work.
in John Chapter 14 verse 27 Jesus says to his disciples and says to us peace I leave with you my peace. I give to you not as the world gives do I give you peace but not your hearts be troubled. Neither. Let them be afraid. He says I am giving you peace. I would have just tell you how I think it's more than just having peace with God. I think he gives us a peace that gives us peace with one another. Let's be frank. Let's be honest when you get two or more people together, if we are not in Christ, something is going to happen negatively. It's a swell.
I mean, it could be something like you're in your family room. And you're with all your kids and your wife or your husband? Someone has to have the remote control.
and you can be you can be Spirit-filled. You can be a tongue talking Christian. You can be someone who had who has such faith that moves all kinds of mountains, but I will guarantee you that if you're not careful with that little piece of plastic that has and that somebody is holding can cause a major Schism in your family, especially on Thursday when somebody wants to watch a parade and somebody else wants to watch a football game. Not saying any names.
Friends, whether it is facing the fears of war or terrorism or intense divisions in a culture or Community or the challenges with a family member or co-worker life can be filled with anxiety and stress and we don't even need to be looking for it. It just happens. If we are not careful and alert, we can fall prey to these fractured relationships that are bound but Jesus said and he tells us let not your heart be troubled. Neither. Let them be afraid that's a promise of God that we can hold onto and he calms the storms of your life by his authority. He speaks peace Into Your Existence and more than that. He gives you a gift the gift of Supernatural piece that he wants you to fully Embrace in your life a piece that gives you a confidence that you know who you believe in and are persuaded that he is able to carry you through the very end of the day. He wants to give you a pre peace. My friend that when you feel like you're the only one that's left to be able to declare the good news of Christ God by his infinite grace. He points out you're not the only They're still others that have not bowed their knees to Baal spend. There is one that is going to watch over you and you do not need to worry or be afraid God is to give her a piece even in the midst of great challenges in your life. You can send them feel him Express and embraced what he wants to give to you say Define a Divine Tranquility with him. And it's a gift he's given to every believer and as a result, every believer needs to exercise that you need to put that gift into practice. You even need to be strategic and utilizing that gift. You need to be prepared. So if you guys fight over the remote control by like some families, I don't know who those families might be. But what you need to do if you need to prepare, you know what I'm going to enter this room and it's not going to be my way or the highway. I'm going to be a facilitator piece.
Hey listen, I I am I've been in church life for almost all my life and I've seen it all I've seen fights break out in church.
I seen a pastor have a fist fight with with a parishioner because that that parishioner felt like the pastor didn't tell him that he was going on vacation.
That guy was associate pastor is two weeks on the job and I went into my office closed the door. I said Lord God help me.
Help me show me how I can get out of this place because I'm I don't know how I'm going to make it. I don't know.
I see my first fight to I told you in my first fight that I ever saw in a church was an annual business meeting they were in a building project and and and there was a fight that broke out it was two sides of this fight. They were the resolution was to what color to paint the walls in the church and the to the options were white and off-white.
I remember I remember watching this and I'm like and I was 8 years old in the paint your own can figure out this is. But I will tell you we can find ways to get irritated with one another but see all of us are called to demonstrate the gift of peace.
If this is your first time in church.
We're nice here.
Oh my goodness.
This leads me to to the next thought I had. Peacemaking is not an option for the believer in Christ.
Hebrews 12:14 says this strive for peace with everyone and for the Holiness without no one will see the Lord.
We rock hauled to demonstrate. Peace. Let me let me let me throw this out at you. Those that do not facilitate peace in their life.
Simple things spiritually may be going on in their life. 1 they may not know that God's word cause them to be peacemakers.
And through instruction and teaching they could discover. That yes, God has called us to be a peacemaker.
There's another reason why people may not be engaged in peacemaking and they Professor relationship with Jesus Christ.
They have they have a disposition to be angry. They have a disposition where it's my way or the highway.
And I'm going to tell you that disposition.
That disposition is not part of your life. You been listening to a lie from the enemy and the enemy is trying to convince you. Yeah, that's okay. That's part of you can't change who you are. Your critical person you're angry person your person that loses your temper. That's okay. That's who you are. A God says. No, that's not who you are.
my son paid with this life The set you free you have been free, and you didn't realize it.
And there's been another reason that maybe peace is not engaged in their life because they do not have a real authentic personal relationship with Christ. Because every believer in Jesus is called. To be a peacemaker a worker of Peace a facilitator of God's peace in relationships.
Helmet, would you come to the piano for me? one final point to make
peacemaking changes lights
peacemaking changes lives
a peacemaker and action beautifully and powerfully demonstrates the love of God. A love. So compelling that people take notice. Did you know that when you engage in the act of peacemaking? You are engaging in a form of evangelism. Did you know that?
That's what Jesus says. In John 13:35. Jesus said by this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.
I have never met a person argued into the kingdom of God. But I've met many who were love into the kingdom. Friends, we are on Kingdom Business. What week we had Jerry Brooks from Oak Creek Assembly of God in with our board meeting. It was a wonderful experience. I wish all of you were there you were there with us for an hour and a half and I will be quite honest with you. I could have gone probably another hour or two just sitting with Jerry Brooks or just hearing what he had to say about the kingdom of God. That we are on Kingdom Business everything we do as a church is about his business every conversation we have is about his his kingdom every encounter we have with any person family or friend or co-worker or fellow student. It's Kingdom Business.
And when you have that mindset it changes things. because when you engaged in the ministry of Peace in the ministry of reconciliation
Incredible things change because people will begin to see that there is something in you they want to know about them friends. Listen by Nature. I'm I'm
what is it called? Is it called not shy introvert? Thank you. I'm in Ann Arbor. That's who I am. Okay long time ago. I stopped fighting it because I was convinced pastors had to be extra verse. God called me into the ministry and say God. I'm not enough to work. Okay, and finally got says I didn't call you to be an extrovert. I called you to be in the ministry. Be who you are. You're an introvert. That's okay. Okay, most of us are introverts. By the way, you won't know it because the extroverts take all the credit and all the
that was not peaceful.
But you know, I've had many people come to me that didn't know I was a Christian didn't know anything about me and they say there's something about you. That doesn't make sense. I need to know more about it. And when I start talking about Jesus the light comes on this at all. That makes sense. That makes sense since you know, everybody's looking at you. They're watching you. They're watching what you say how you talk to people.
And you are Witness.
by your demonstration of peace See, that's the kingdom of business. That's Christ Hands Extended helping people discover. The power of God's open grates. CNR work we work with humility with compassion with grace to it encourage. Peace. Peace with God and peace with one another. So friends, we need to remember our mandate Our Calling.
It begins with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It's patterned after his life and his work. It's a gift given for every believer every believer. Just some every believer has this gift. It's not an option.
And friends that changes wife.
One more thought before we we wrap it up this morning.
There's a scripture verse. That I didn't share that I think is very important to share. Philippians chapter 4 verse 7
the Apostle Paul Wright didn't so beautiful. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. Will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I'm thankful for the peace of God. In all of life's challenges. There's the peace of God.
Lord God I pray right now before we dismissed the service.
that we would be still and and have ears to hear what your Holy Spirit wants to say to us today.
Work maybe just maybe there are those in this room. Do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Or maybe there's someone in this room where? In recent times the relationship with you has grown cold.
I've been more there are those that are in a storm right now and and lord they're experiencing anything else, but show me and I pray for each one of these that you will make yourself so real because it is through the reality of Jesus Christ that we can experience genuine. Peace.
For the one that doesn't know you Lord it begins by repentance and saying Lord. I'm sorry for what I've done forgive me. Lord I confess with my mouth I believe in my heart Jesus you died for me and you Rose again, and I'm going to trust in you and I'm going to live for you for you are my God and my savior. And I invite you into my life and I invite your peace the rule in me. Spanish for dog that feel estranged from you their relationship with you has has seemed to be stretched band. I pray to Lord God that they would ask for lord your forgiveness. And Lord that they too would return. And they too would confess Lord You Are God and I will trust in you and I will live for you may your peace that surpasses all understanding guard my heart and renew my mind.
Hyperbole for that are going through the storm. May you Jesus super naturally speaking to their life even right now and say peace be still. Easter and Lord may your entire church. Say, thank you Lord. For your peace. May we be instruments of your peace? May we lord God facilitate what you are going to do? And Lord, we would become living testimonies of your peace and of your goodness and of your grades. Lord I ask this in Jesus name. Amen Let Stand Together Hallelujah