Peace: Romans 5:1-8, 12:16-21, Philippians 4:4-9.

Introduction: Peace- the third characteristic of the fruit of the spirit. Most people associate peace with the absence of suffering or painful things; or even an image of green meadows and happy things or everyone getting along with one another. What does the Bible say about peace?

Big Idea: If there’s one thing that we should hold on tightly tonight, it is that true peace comes from knowing that our lives are in God’s control. It might not sound appealing as I say it now, but believe me, it is the peace that God gives that will guard our hearts and minds.

We are justified through faith by what Jesus has done. Through this faith, we have accepted God’s grace and in this we have hope, and in this hope we can have peace. Let’s have a breakdown of what peace really is. There are three points I want to go through to show you how it works and how we can have peace when God is in control of our lives.

 

Point 1: Peace with God (Spiritual Order)

Romans 5:1-8 

Being justified through faith, we receive grace and when we stand in this grace, we have reconciliation with God. With this reconciliation, we can therefore rejoice and have hope. It allows us to rejoice in all things, in suffering and in good times because we can look towards the hope of the glory of God.

 … But what is the hope in the glory of God!?

Illustration: What are some essentials we need in order to watch a movie at the cinemas or attend a show? We need tickets. The tickets have been paid for long before our arrival to watch the show. It’s not us that grants ourselves access to the show but it’s the tickets. Having the tickets with us is what grants us permission to see the show. The show in which our King Jesus will return and take us home!

In a way, our faith are these tickets. Our faith is what grants us access to God. It’s amazing that we have access to God! Better yet, it’s Jesus that paid for our admission to see the Father! Talk about free tickets! We rely on Jesus to be justified through faith so that we can have peace with God because faith grants us access into the grace of God. And this is our position- when we totally rely on Jesus we stand in grace, we are at a place of favour and mercy, we are at a place where all we can do is hope. 

When we stand in this grace (unmerited and underserved kindness) we can be assured. We can have hope. We can have peace because we know we can persevere through good times and bad times because all these things build up towards Jesus’ return.

 

Point 2: Peace on Earth (Relational Order)

Romans 12:16-21, 5:5

In what we have just read in Romans 5:5, we learn that God has poured out His spirit to us. As Christians, we serve God and His Spirit blesses us and it helps us and influences us in the way in how we live. It’s actually an assurance to God’s glory that is to come and it keeps us close to God! Now that we understand how in hoping in God we have reconciliation and peace, we have peace and better yet; are assured of it as we live our lives!

 How do we live our lives!?

We experience many things in living. Good stuff and pain keeps knocking at our doors constantly. It also means that we are crossing roads with people we love and people we find hard to love. But God calls us to love one another regardless. How does this have anything to do with peace? Well not only does this mean that we have peace with one another, those whose hope is in the Lord, know and endure because we have the assurance and know that God will take care of it all. (v.19) In knowing this, we can be at peace and we can endure as we wait upon Jesus. 

Why is it important to love our enemies… and how can we? Paul continues to encourage us to use this time to encourage one another to make peace with one another. You and I were all born into this world the same way and God has not orphaned any of us. It is comforting that God has left His Holy Spirit with us; and with His power among us, we are united. We can have peace with one another, and it lets us all be patient and bearing and enduring all things with the love Christ that was first graced upon us.

Therefore, bless your enemies, feed the hungry for our hope is rested in the peace of God that allows us to have peace with one another. It helps us stay reconciled with God because of we repay evil with evil, we’re crushing the reconciliation with God and putting Jesus back on that cross. So in everything you do, be reconciled with God to the place God in His providence puts you in, whatever it may be- so that you can rejoice.

 

Point 3: Peace Of God (Psychological Order)

 Philippians 4:4-9

The peace of God will guard our hearts. It helps us be at peace with God and with others. It is comforting to know that we have access to God and that we can look forward to His Glory that helps us live joyfully. In reading this passage, we can be at ease because we can bring all things to God. Happy or sad. It is our duty to bring everything to God in prayer- with this constant wrestling of thanksgiving and hunger for reconciliation. It keeps us on our feet.

Paul recommends to us that we come to God again and again in prayer and petition- because this is the remedy that keeps us from sinning, distrust and worldly distractions.

 If God is all knowing why do we have to keep praying!?

Just because God knows our needs and wants, it is NOT and excuse to not pray or even be lazy about it. God wants us to OWN the mercy He has graced upon us. He wants us to show that we value His mercy. This is His peace working within us. Prayer is not only exercising the access we have to God, but at the same time it is a constant reminder that keeps our hearts close to God. With being close to God, we learn His heart and His desires and this keeps us from sinning and falling away from God. The peace of God goes hand in hand with us keeping close to our duty; that is the response to the salvation we have in the free mercy of God through Jesus Christ.

 

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

This is our confidence to live because we have Peace with God believing that God is in full control, that everything we may go through, God will bring us through so that one day we can have hope fulfilled and see the glory of Jesus returning.  🙂
With much love,
Janey xx

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Thoughts: As a child living in the age of post-modernity.

Lately I’ve been attending a leadership class at church and we’ve been discussing a variety of interesting issues and what not. Yes I am a Christian and speak from a Christian perspective. You may have your own views yet us not argue so that this may be a fruitful blog entry that will challenge or lead to interesting thoughts for you!
I do not claim to be a goody-goody and even more so do not claim to be a nice person; although I am trying out of love, and do certainly hope to have achieved being so in any way. However, what I do claim is:

-I am a child who has failed in many aspects in life- and I need a perfect God’s help.
-I am a selfish child who has felt the weight of selfless love and have been moved.
-I am a liar, a thief, etc and I am in desperate need of forgiveness.
-I am hopeless and I need God’s hope.
-I am limited and I need God’s unlimited-ness, and by God’s grace I am granted full access to such greatness.
-I have realised that there is SO MUCH more to life than what we can all taste and see.

Now onto the topic of discussion. What does it mean to be living in this day and age?
In the following much of the thoughts were inspired by the respectable S.M Williams (aka Stuart Murry), a religious lecturer from the Morling College in Australia and also a personal friend and mentor of mine, Pastor Derrick Hooper, a master’s graduate from the school. Let’s jumpstart our brains with a couple of questions:

1. What are the characteristics of Post-modernity.
2. What does it mean to be a person living in the age of Post-modernity.
3. Where will it take us?

To understand the place in where we stand now we must understand a little bit of our context and where we’ve come from. Without taking it too far back we should look at modernism. Characteristics that define modernism, and I quote from Pastor Derrick Hooper, is shaped by,

“the Renaissance, Reformation, industrialization, urbanization, age of science. Characterized by: Big ideas/ambitions; big stories; progress and development; pragmatism (e.g., “Greed is good!”); institutionalism (i.e., working for the man, or company men).”

So granted the obvious that post-modernity is… well the age after modernity- meaning that the concept of modernity and all the others prior had failed miserably. Hence now we’re stuck in this undefinable situation- confused but not confused but confused yet again because we have so much knowledge of the world; but confused in the end again because we’re not all too sure what to make of it all. Hence post-modernism is,

Shaped by: failure of modernist ambitions; failure of modernist ideas; discovery of different stories; stalling of progress and development.

Characterized by: prevailing pessimism; rejection of mega-stories; valuing relationships; truth is considered personal not objective/universal; skepticism; anti-institutionalism.

In a nutshell the youngster generations with people like me (i’m only 21), are very open to listening to stories and thoughts- we like a challenge but may not necessarily take it to action. On that note however, big stories and big ideas is a different issue. As we have been taught and seen for ourselves that these big movements have failed- then every other big issue we move onto as a humanitarian group will surely fail also; therefore there is no point and no hope in trying. Let things go with the flow and let that be as how it should be. Our minds tell us to mind our own business and not try to have a sticky beak at anyone else’s problems because society tells us that they’re not worth our precious time or that no-one wants a random’s act of sympathy- or so to say. (Sounds a bit like you or your teenage kid? Well it definitely sounds like me) We believe people can be opinionated and can do what they feel is right or whatever makes them happy- but nobody really cares because… we’re all opinionated and subject to our own beliefs.

We like what modernism brought over- science proving things but we realise that science still cannot prove everything and as a result- we let occasional things slide when the problem cannot be resolved. This has brought to our attention that people are not perfect and that many things have gone ‘cray-cray’ in society. We recognise that there are many issues in society thus finally realise that people matter. Relationships matter. -but… not that we really truly care.

Hmm. Interesting. Our lives when put together as a group seem kind of glum? Especially when we can see many things go pummelling from hero to zero. eg. rates of teenage women getting abortion (it’s a big topic to discuss in depth but you get my gyst for there is not much time on this post to talk in full detail) We don’t know what we are and we don’t know where we’re heading towards. What we do know is what we aren’t and what we don’t like.

The majority of popular society fights for many rights for different minority groups. In the end, the minority groups aren’t heard anyway although they are entitled to whatever they believe in. (I’m sorry i’m getting tired of typing and am in hope to end this quickly… Hopefully I have been entertaining enough to this point in this post) The problem with this is that nobody in these minority groups are every really heard, respected- or even if they are; the big group of popular society will not give a damn.

For one, the Christian group, and I write from my own experience, is greatly ignored. I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps people have experienced bad memories from a christian or well… i’m quite sure what it may be. At the very least what we claim to believe is belief in an eternal God over a dying world. What I can say though is, it is cruelly hard to be ignored and even have people make jokes about what one holds on dearly. For example when one says “JESUS CHRIST!” as a replacement for a curse word, I feel deeply offended for this is my King’s name which means everything to me, that has been reduced to a meaningless bypass word in a matter of milliseconds. Take heart though for all of you brothers and sisters whom are also Christian that like Paul I find that this is also a blessing in its own way. Being in the minority or the rejected group means that we too understand what it means to suffer. May this be of encouragement to you that you are not alone and that you know how it feels so that if any person you may meet during your journey of life you could be of encouragement to them for you can empathise with them what they are going through.

For it is granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. Philippians 1:29-30
 
So I will peace out now for my arms feel like jelly and brain is shutting down. May God bless your day and may you enjoy it because you are still alive- whether you are christian or not. ❤
 
Janey xx