1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We often hear God characterized by those who are not really familiar with Him as a God of Judgement.
When they do recognize Him as having a personality, they speak of Him only as a harsh, hard hearted Being. They come to their conclusions through a misunderstanding of the evidence at hand: The World condition and the Word of God.
A. The World condition – revelation through experience.
The world is wrecked by sin and ruled by evil. In every age and in every place injustice and wickedness prevails. Natural phenomenon such as earthquakes, typhoons, floods, and fires kill millions yearly. Photographs of innocent children decimated by disease and starvation are flashed before a horrified public, yet with little help forthcoming. As one disease is erased, another takes its place – worse than the one before. And the cry goes forth “Is this what God has created”?
Not only are the conclusions drawn from personal experience, they also look to
B. The Word of God – revelation through erroneous interpretation.
Joshua 10:40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
They accuse God of evil acts in ordering and abiding the destruction of the men, women, and children, the evil and the good, the innocent with the guilty, the informed and the ignorant.
The accusers use warped imaginings to form their arguments on foundations of ignorance and wrong perceptions.
Instead of reading the Word as God intended it to be read “…rightly dividing the Word of God…”, text are removed from context and used as proof text to prove the theories of man.
God rightly portrays them as the “blind leading the blind”. Choosing to reject God and as Pilate did, they wash their hands of the whole situation. When pressed for a decision they will, as the Stoics did when faced with the truth from the preaching of Paul, excuse themselves by saying “We will hear thee again of this matter”. They claim to be innocent when they come face to face with God, not realizing that the Lord has already informed them that they are “without excuse”.
The heartbreaking truth of the matter is that they do not understand that God is not what they consider Him to be at all for He is certainly “…the very God of peace…”
This morning we will try to learn why God, who knows Himself perfectly, defines Himself as the God of peace.
I. The Potential of His Peace.
The God of peace is recognized through the relationship that He has as Creator with His creation. In His infinite wisdom and power He created by the power of His Word all things. In six days God created all that exists and at final inspection declared that “it was very good.”
A. The purpose of His creation is stated by the Apostle John –
Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
B. The proposition to His creation is that they would delight in one another by choice.
Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
C. The pride of His creation.
Adam and Eve chose to obey their own selfish desire instead of God and introduced sin into the world –
1. The condition of man
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
2. The condition of creation –
Genesis 4:17-19 “…cursed is the ground for thy sake … Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee … in the sweat of they face shalt thou eat bread…”
Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Man cries out as described by Jeremiah “peace, peace, but there is no peace…” and man in his frustration blames God for this condition which in fact was brought on himself.
Romans 3:10-18 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
II. The Presence of His Peace.
A. He overcomes fear. Mark 4:38-40
Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
B. He overcomes grief.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
C. He overcomes ignorance.
In 2013 a lady was trekking the length of the Appalachian Trail in the Eastern part of the USA. The trail is about 3,400 km and she had walked about half of the trail, about 1,600 km. She was trekking this portion alone. She needed to relieve herself and walked off the trail to find a private area. She somehow lost her direction and spent 26 days in the forest, finally dying alone. Her body was found 2 years later, only 30 minutes away from a cabin. She was lost not knowing how to be found, and yet she still died. She had no guide to help her, no one to show her the way. The world is lost and dying – confused and afraid. Jesus has come to give peace through Himself. He is “the Way, the truth, and the life”
1. He replaces confusion by His Word – “He will guide you into all truth…”
2. He rewards faith with confidence. –
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
And He has promised to His children – “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee…”
III. The Provision of His Peace.
A. We were the enemies of God. Colossians 1:21 “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works…”
B. We had no hope, no power to help ourselves –
Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, … having no hope, and without God in the world:
C. We were loved by God who gave Himself for us that we might have life everlasting in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Ephesians 2:14-17 For he is our peace…
Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
IV. The Promise of His Peace.
Romans 10:9-13 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
“…The very God of peace…” Is He your peace today? Have you trusted Him for salvation?