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October 9, 2022

שָׁלוֹם Εἰρήνη PEACE

Jeremiah 29:7 & Philippians 4:7

  • Would you consider yourself a peaceful person?
  • What are some things that physically disrupt your peace?
  • Here is something that disrupts my peace.

https://youtu.be/s5bwBS27A1g

  • A peaceful sound for me is a train because of memories I have spending time with my grandparents. For some people it’s the ocean or rain.

What are some things that affect your mental/emotional peace?

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Worry about the future
  • Emotional Pain
  • Feelings of helplessness

There are different words for peace in the Bible.

I want to focus on two of those. The first word “Eirene” is found in the New Testament. The second word found in the Old Testament is Shalom.

  1. The word “peace” is often considered or described as the opposite of turmoil or even war. That’s logical because of all the unrest in the world today.
  2. The word “peace” appears 91 times in the New Testament.

Paul writes these words in Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Let’s consider the Peace of God for a few minutes because it affects everything. There are many implications but let’s look at six things. First, I submit to you that:

  1. The Peace of God is Perfect
    1. I looked up the word perfect in the dictionary because I wondered if there would be a perfect
    2. Here it is – “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics as good as it is possible to be.”
    3. “As good as it is possible to be” is not perfect.

Psalm 18:30  - “His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is pure. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”

Psalm 19:7 -  “The instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life; the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.”

My definition of perfect - Exactly the way God is and plans for things to be. Therefore, it’s a peace that lacks nothing. A perfect peace.

  1. The Peace of God is Holy.
    1. The Hebrew word for Holy literally means “separate” or “set apart,” which means the peace of God is absolutely pure.
    2. God’s peace is unstained by sin or evil.
    3. The peace of God is perfectly good all the time.

Isaiah 6:3  -  “And one called to another and said: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory!”

  1. The Peace of God is Consuming.
    1. “Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lordyour God that He made with you, and make an idol for yourselves in the shape of anything He has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 4:23-24
    2. God’s peace is without idols.
    3. God will not share His glory.
    4. God’s consuming fire will go ahead of us.
  1. The Peace of God is Contagious
    1. Have you ever been around someone who seems to worry about everything?
    2. Generally, that person is also very pessimistic and seems to be negative all the time.
    3. These are people who always seem to disrupt the peace.
    4. The opposite personality impacts our lives in a positive way.
    5. It is because they have a contagious peace that comes from God.
    6. It is Shalom – the peace that God desires for us.
  1. The Peace of God is Powerful.
    1. There’s an attitude that says, “I’m trusting God,” and it speaks powerfully to people – because we serve an all-powerful God. 
    2. You must remember the things that God has called us to do will always be things that we cannot do in our own natural ability.
    3. It is the desire of most Christians today to have God work through them in a powerful way. This area of peace is one that we often neglect.

Think about the following statements.

  • God has the power to create anything from nothing. (Psalm 33:6-9)
  • God has power to deliver. (Exodus 13:3)
  • God’s creative power is beyond our comprehension. (Job 38:1-11)
  • God speaks and things happen. (Psalm 29:3-9)
  • His resurrection power is immeasurably great. (Ephesians 1:19-20)
  • His creation reflects His power. (Psalm 19:1-4)
  • His powerful word sustains everything. (Hebrews 1:3)
  • He has power over death. (Revelation 1:18)
  • No one can challenge what God does. (Daniel 4:35)
  • He reveals Himself as the almighty God. (Genesis 17:1)

Now do you think God has the power to bring peace into your life?

  1. The Peace of God is Inviting – in other words let’s live it out!

I read an article recently called “Ways to practice Godly peace.” These are personal ways to advance peace in your life.

  • Be selective with how you spend your time. 
  • Be prepared to say “no” nicely. 
  • Resist the spirit of procrastination. 
  • Eliminate key distractions. 
  • Set appropriate boundaries for interruptions. 
  • Modify your life.
  • Listen for the Holy Spirit.

This Peace I have described this morning is faithful to the concept of shalom. The basic concept of “peace” in the New Testament is that of “wholeness.” It is a “wholeness” in all dimensions of life, implying in tranquility, safety, well-being, welfare, health, contentment, success, comfort, integrity, harmony with God and His laws.

Paul also says, this is a peace that “passes all understanding.”

  1. It is beyond our ability to understand and to explain – therefore it must be experienced.
  2. I compare it to experiencing missions as opposed to hearing a report.
  3. This peace doesn’t just surpass the understanding of the worldly man; it surpasses all understanding. Even the godly man cannot comprehend this peace.

One writer put it this way:

“When you consider your situation and the peace you have in the midst of it, it won’t make logical sense. You should be worried, but you’re not. You should be panicking, but you’re not. You should have anxiety, but you don’t.”

This peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds.

  1. The word for guard here can actually mean a military guard.
  2. This peace will work to defend your mind from all invaders.
  3. It will take whatever defensive or offensive action is necessary to protect your heart and mind.
  4. This is something that the peace of God does for us; it is a peace that is on guard over our heart and mind.

This is the kind of peace God offers. It’s not a passive peace but an active peace that is fighting on your behalf.

It is a peace that will help us to seek the peace of others - even the peace of our city. Let’s turn our attention to Jeremiah 29:7

Seek the welfare (Shalom) of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper.”

  1. If we are to understand the message of Jeremiah 29:7, we must look at the verses in the surrounding context.
  2. As Christians, we’re also called to be sojourners on this earth.
  3. We should understand that while earth is not our permanent home, God has put us here for a purpose.
  4. We have a duty to seek the peace of the city we live in.
  5. We may not be in the place that we want to be, but God still hears our prayers.

Jeremiah 29:7 would have been revolutionary advice at that time.

  1. The Israelites were told to actively desire peace for the same persons who had taken them captive.
  2. Instead of praying for their enemy’s destruction, they were to pray for their peace and prosperity.
  3. Like the Israelites, we’re to seek the peace of the people we live among (even if they are enemies of God).
  4. If we’re seeking for something, it has to be because we desire it or want to have it.
  5. If we’re seeking something, we’re asking for something from God.
  6. That leads us to a pertinent question: today we live in a society ravaged by the enemy. Are we praying for the peace of the city/country that we’re living in?

So what does that mean for us?

We can go back to the Sermon on the Mount and extract the lessons from Christ’s teaching.

  1. Bless those who curse you. 
  2. Do good to those who hate you. 
  3. Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. 

Why?

  1. We love others because God tells us to – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34 (ESV)
  2. Love others because God lovesyou.God loves us to the point that He sent His only Son to die for our sins. The Bible says “while we were enemies” God reconciled us to Himself (Romans 5:10).
  3. We love others because we love God.God is love and if we say we love Him, then we can’t have any hatred in our hearts. “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”  1 John 4:20 (ESV)

Here are a few tips

  • Remember they were created by God.
    • A lot of times, hate is generated towards people or things who are different than we are.
    • We dislike things we fear. We hate things we don’t understand.
    • When we remember that the person we call our enemy was created and is loved by God, just as we are, it should generate a desire to seek their welfare (Shalom).
  • Put yourself in their shoes.
    • People are sometimes the recipients of our dislike because of their actions.
    • They may do things differently or speak in a different manner.
    • Try to put yourself in the person’s position.
    • Imagine why they may be acting the way they are and try to figure out how to relate to them from where they are.
  • Treat them as you would want to be treated.
    • In this situation, the Golden Rule comes in handy, treat your enemy as you would want to be treated.
    • Oftentimes, the person we hate is treated with disdain or distrust.
    • Apply the Golden Rule and remember that God does not treat us as our sins deserve either.

I would like to ask a couple of questions in closing.

  • Is the totality of your life evidence of a Godly peace?
  • Are you seeking the peace for your city?

 

 

 

 

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