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The Peace Of God 4-29-01

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THE PEACE OF GOD

Colossians 3:15; Philippians 4:6-7

(Col 3:15 NIV)  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

(Phil 4:6 NIV)  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

(Phil 4:7 NIV)  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Introduction

Look around you and you will see much turmoil, unrest, and a lack of peace in individuals.  It is evidenced in the lifestyles, in the culture, and manifests itself in the form of many illnesses.  There is one way to tell the difference between the voice of God and a counterfeit—it is the sense of peace.  The voice which speaks peace is of God, the voice which speaks panic and urgency is either of Satan or comes from your own human nature.  God leads!  Satan pushes.  When we come to know the abiding peace of God, deep within our spirit, we have reached a balance and stability that cannot be upset by circumstances or urgent voices speaking to our mind or emotions.  Nor will we be fooled by counterfeit guidance, because we have learned to recognize the voice of God.  Listen to the words of Jesus as he promised us His presence.

(John 14:27 NIV)  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

The peace of God is a function of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  It is on an equal footing with the voice of God.

Peace is a word that is thrown around as if those who are using it know what it means.  It is used in banners and signs, carried in marches, put on bumper stickers.  World leaders continually call for peace.

But the peace of God functions according to the principle outlined in Colossians 3:15. “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts”. The amplified version says it this way: “Let the peace of Christ rule (act as an umpire continually) in your hearts…deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds.”

The peace of God is to act as umpire—to witness within us for or against an intended course of action.  How does the peace of God do this?

            It comes about when we have conscious rest or assurance in our heart concerning a matter.  Otherwise, we have unrest, uncertainty, or agitation.

We know better than to argue with the umpire.  He has the last word.  We are either safe or we are out!  If you argue with the umpire, you can be thrown out of the game.  The peace of God is the umpire who calls the strikes and causes us to know whether we are on safe ground or not.

What is the nature of this peace?  How do we know when we have it?  Are there conditions for having it?

  1. THE PEACE OF GOD IS NOT A MERE ABSENCE OF DISTURBANCE AROUND US
    1. We are prone to blame circumstances.

                                                              i.      The rent is due, the children are sick, the neighbors are nasty, my boss is a grouch and somebody broke in my house and stole my computer.  No wonder I don’t have any peace.

                                                            ii.      If we had different leadership in Washington, a new government, if we would clean up the air, improve our environment, then we could have peace.

    1. The peace of God is not dependent upon circumstances.

                                                              i.      But rather peace is a state of being that comes from within us.  There is a consciousness of being at rest, at peace, regardless of what is going on around us.

1.      Let me illustrate with the story of Jesus and the disciples, crossing the Sea of Galilee.

(Luke 8:22 NIV)  One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out.

(Luke 8:23 NIV)  As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

(Luke 8:24 NIV)  The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.

(Luke 8:25 NIV)  "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

2.      What do you see in this passage?

a.       They were there at the command of Jesus (v.22) Sometimes He will direct us into the storm to demonstrate His peace.

b.      He was asleep, but he was there with them—in the storm

c.       Their response was—“Do you care that we are going to die?”  His response was to speak to the storm and “all was calm”.

    1. His peace is more than coming home from work and finding everything quiet and calm, the kids playing peacefully, your wife in perfect harmony.                                                               i.      No, the peace of God can be with you even when you come home—tired, the kids are fighting with one another, your wife is upset because dinner is burned.  No matter the circumstances, His peace inside will give you the assurance that all will be well.

                                                            ii.      There is a story I’m sure you’ve heard before, but it bears repeating.  A group of artists were asked to paint a picture of peace.  One painted a beautiful sunset.  Another an ocean calm.  Still another, a pleasant harvest scene.  But a fourth artist painted a picture of a raging sea, crashing against the rocks on the shore with the spray flying into the air and being caught up with the fierce wind.  Someone viewing the painting asked the artist, “How does this scene portray peace?”  They were invited to look closer and there in the cleft of one of the rocks was a little bird with its head tucked under its wing, fast asleep. 

                                                          iii.      That is peace!  With the storm raging around, there is a cleft in the rock for you!

  1. THE PEACE OF GOD IS A SUPERNATURAL REST IN THE MIDST OF SURROUNDING UNREST  
    1. Waiting for circumstances to change to have peace could mean you would never have peace.  Circumstances won’t really change until first we are changed.

                                                              i.      Listen to Philippians 4:6,7 as J B Phillips translated it.  “Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God, which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.”

1.      Transcends human understanding

2.      Guards our hearts and minds (‘I feel like I’m losing my mind’) don’t worry.  There is a guard, a sentry just outside and it is called the peace of God.

    1. The peace of God cannot be yours unless you have first made peace with God.                                                               i.      How do I do that?  Must first believe, confess, put your trust in Him as Lord and Savior, and make Him Lord of your life.  It is what we mean by saying “You must be born again”

    1. And then our behavior and attitudes affect our peace with God. (1 Pet 3:7 NIV)  Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

                                                              i.      Phillips translates this “If you don’t do this, you will find it is impossible to pray properly.”

                                                            ii.      This principle applies not only to husbands and wives, but to every other relationship as well.  There is no true guidance with turmoil inside.  It jams our spiritual radar.

    1. If we are disobedient to His Word, we cannot know peace (Isa 48:18 NIV)  If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

(Isa 48:22 NIV)  "There is no peace," says the LORD, "for the wicked."

(Psa 119:165 NIV)  Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Conclusion

Peace with God will bring the peace of God until it settles your nerves, fills your mind, floods over your spirit and the midst of the uproar around you will give you the assurance that everything is all right.  Peace within is the key to this basic form of guidance.  When you know the peace of God, you will find the leading of the Spirit quite accurately and very precise.  Guidance coming as the peace of God literally arbitrates and settles the disputes in our hearts and minds concerning God’s will for our life.

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