Principles for Peace

Principles for Peace

Principles for Peace is a sermon teaching us about the one thing that robs us of peace in our hearts and the one thing that puts peace back in our hearts.

Key Verses:
Romans 14:19
Luke 1:67-80
Luke 7:36-50
Luke 8:40-48

Romans 14:19: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”

To edify means to build up. We are to build up each other. But before that, Paul says to “let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace.” We are speaking tonight about the principles of peace.

Will There Be Peace?

Several people lately asked me what I thought about the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas. Hamas seems to be the organization that is ruling the Palestinian territory. A man last Thursday asked me who I thought was right and if there will ever be peace in that region. When I finished giving him my answer, he said he had never heard it explained like that before. It has to do with who you are listening to, I will tell you, in this situation and in many situations.

But while I was in Israel a long time ago, I did not see everything there is to see there by a longshot. But I saw a number of things. One thing I noticed was in most parts of the country, people watch American TV. I asked a man who lived there what he thought about what goes on in our country and he said that ABC says this, NBC says this, CBS says this, CNN says this, etc. I wanted to know what someone in Israel thought, but what he told me came from American TV.

One of the things I noticed, and again, I have seen it in other situations, what actually happens and what you see on TV news is not necessarily the same thing. They can be so very different. What you see on the news is pretty much what they want you to see. So, you cannot go by that as an actual guide with what happened.

The Land God Promised

God promised the land that we now call Israel to Abraham in Genesis 12:1, and He promised to give it to Abraham and to his seed forever. How long is forever? That is FOREVER. Abraham’s grandson, whose name was changed to Israel, had twelve sons who became the twelve tribes of Israel. They lived in the land until a famine caused them to go to Egypt and then approximately 400 years later, the people of Israel were slaves in Egypt. They cried out to God, and He heard them and answered their prayer with a deliverer that would lead them out of the land of Egypt and into the promised land – actually, back to the promised land, back to their national home.

Forty years later, they arrived in the land, and from that time forward, there were many wars. There were wars going into the land, there were wars all the time they were in the land. They became a kingdom and there were wars within the kingdom with the exception of the reign of Solomon. There were always wars. The kingdom was divided, and the kingdom fell to the Assyrians. The southern kingdom lasted many years longer but was eventually conquered by the Babylonians who took control of all the land of Israel and took the people captive back to their own country. As centuries passed, the land was ruled by the Persians and then the Greeks and was eventually ruled by the Romans.

The people of Israel had become scattered throughout the world, and this happened in stages until most of the people were scattered throughout the world. But, in all of those ages, there was always a remnant of the people of Israel in the land. There has never been a time, never been a day, when the people of Israel did not live in the land of Israel. There has never been a time or a day when Jewish people did not live in Israel. That needs to be remembered.

The Byzantine empire replaced the Romans in controlling the land, but there was still a remnant of the people of Israel living in the land. In 638 A.D., the Muslims took the land away from the Byzantine empire. But there still remained a remnant in Israel. In 1099 A.D., the European crusades began, you may hear about the Crusades and hear about how awful they were and the atrocities they committed, and there is truth to that. Did you know why they started? They started to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims. That is what started it. But there were still Jewish people in the land. The Syrians took the land from the Crusaders, and in turn, the Ottoman Turks took it from the Syrians. There is always a Jewish presence in the land.

Aliyah — Returning to Israel

In the 1850s, more and more Jewish people returned to the land and in the late 1800s, there was a movement begun to establish an Israeli state. But the land had become barren after centuries of wars that have been fought there. And these Jewish people who were living there and some who were immigrating there began to farm again and make the land more productive. As this happened, people from the surrounding countries moved in also to try to benefit from the Jews’ restoration of the land.

After WWI, the British took over the land from the Ottoman Turks and after WWII and the Holocaust, many Jewish people from all over the world began to emigrate there. We can understand that. On May 14, 1948, three years after the official end of WWII, the United Nations gave recognition to the state of Israel. Immediately, the new nation came under attack from its neighbors, that same day. There have been continuing conflicts there since that day. But the nation and the people of Israel have survived.

Jesus said these words:

Matthew 24:6: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

Matthew 24:7: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”

Matthew 24:8: “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Ensuing Peace

The Lord also inspired Peter to write:

I Peter 3:10: “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:”

I Peter 3:11: “Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”

One commentator that I read said this about “Let him seek peace and ensue it.” — that word “ensue” means to go after it like a police officer was after a speeder. You go and track him down and you get him. You get the peace that way — ensue peace that way.

I would say most people, sadly not all people, want to live in peace. Most people want peace as a country. Most people want peace in their neighborhood. Most people want peace on the job. Most people want peace at home. Most people want to have peace as individuals, and I am one of them. I like peace, I do not like turmoil, I do not like conflict. I like peace and for things to move along peacefully. Does that always happen? No, but it is what I like. Again, I think that is what most people would like.

I have seen people in the region we are talking about who were of different beliefs of different religions, get up in the morning, go to work, and their children go to school, and spend their day and go home at night, just like people do all over the world in peace. I am saying, peace could be had there that could have been there a long time ago. But there are certain folks who just will not have it. I am not getting into politics, but I am just telling you about peace.

Preparing the Way of the Lord

So, we need to learn some principles in order as Hebrews 12:14 tells us:

Hebrews 12:14: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

Hear what it says there in Hebrews. It says, “Follow peace with all men,” – all of us try to have peace and in order to follow peace, you are going to have to have holiness. Why? What causes turmoil? What causes strife? Sin, rebellion, anger, hatred. I want us to look at a couple of passages of scripture.

Luke 1:67: “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,”

The speaker here is Zacharias, the priest who was the father of John the Baptist. What he is talking about here is about his son, John the Baptist. Jesus came into this world so that we could have peace. In the next chapter, Luke chapter two, you find that the angels appear to the shepherds in the fields and what did they say to them? They said:

Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

But do we have peace on earth?” Some places we do and sometimes we do. But there has not been a time when there has been total peace on earth. What happened? Were those angels confused about what they said or is the Bible inaccurate? What happened? Well, I will tell you what happened. Just like we said earlier, there are some folks that will not have peace.

John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus. He was chronologically six months older than Jesus, relationally, he was the cousin of Jesus, but most importantly, he was a believer in Jesus. He spent his entire life preparing the world for the coming of the Savior, the Messiah, the Christ Jesus.

So, in this passage, Zacharias gives us a prophecy on the mission of his son:

Luke 1:67: “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,”

Luke 1:68: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,”

What a powerful statement. God has visited His people and He has redeemed His people. He has come to save them.

Luke 1:69: “And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;”

Another important statement. This Redeemer, who is coming, is of the house of David and through him, salvation comes.

Luke 1:70: “As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:”

Luke 1:71: “That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;”

Isn’t that the prayer that we have right now? Be saved from our enemies and all those who hate us.

Luke 1:72: “To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;”

God makes this covenant to Abraham and to his descendants.

Luke 1:73: “The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,”

Luke 1:74: “That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,”

Luke 1:75: “In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.”

God part in the matter. God chose those people and He placed them in that land in that part of the world, to do what? To be a testimony and a witness for Him, and they have been. But not all Jewish people love the Lord, not all of any group of people love the Lord, do they? That is a fact. Not all people who call themselves Christian love the Lord. They ought to but that is not how it really is. But we see God’s heart on this. Zacharias goes on:

Luke 1:76: “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;”

The prophet of the Lord. John lived his whole life for one purpose. He is the best example in the history of the human race of a person who lived a life with singleness of purpose, wholly dedicated, wholly committed to what he was doing and to his life’s mission. He came to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah, the Savior, the Christ.

Luke 1:77: “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,”

So, the one who would come who John was announcing would be the salvation of the people and he, himself, would be the payment for their sins.

Luke 1:78: “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,”

That is an interesting statement. The tender mercy of our God, the dayspring. The word “dayspring” is used in the Old Testament to refer to the Messiah, the one who would come who is the son of God. Why does He come?

Luke 1:79: “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

This is the situation. He comes to give light to people who are lost in darkness. And He is going to lead them where? Into the way of peace. He comes as the Prince of Peace. We said this morning, Satan is called the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air. But Jesus comes as the Prince of Peace.

Luke 1:80: “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”

That is not Jesus, that is John the Baptist who is talked about. He grew up in the deserts. Some people think, and the Bible does not say this, that he lived with the people in Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and he may have. Again, that is not biblical, that is tradition. But if he did not in fact live in Qumran, he did live somewhere in that area. It is desert land there and it is dry near the Dead Sea, hence the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Many things unique about the Dead Sea itself physically speaking. It is a unique body of water in all the world. But there is a lot that is unique about that area with regard to the Bible and scripture since it happened here.

After World Wars

The fact is, Jesus comes as the Prince of Peace, and only Jesus Christ can come and give us true and lasting peace. You are not going to find it anywhere else. At the end of WWI, President Woodrow Wilson helped formulate the League of Nations and it was his idea, and you have to understand, President Wilson’s father was a Presbyterian minister.

President Wilson graduated and became the President of Princeton University. But in his training, he would have been brought up as a post-millennialist. What does that mean? It means he did not believe that Christ was going to come, take His people out, we were going through the Tribulation period, and then He would come and establish His kingdom on earth. What he believed was that the church was so going to evangelize the world and that peace was going to come all over the world, and when the world had peace that Christ would come and receive His kingdom.

So, he formulates the League of Nations with the idea that we are going to have world peace. Hence, WWI was not called that in those days, it was called the war to end all wars. And they believed, particularly President Wilson believed, that worldwide peace was going to come. But it did not happen. President Wilson passed off the scene and numerous presidents followed him. Not too many decades later, we had WWII which was even larger and bloodier than the first one. Peace did not come because sin robs us of peace in our hearts.

We are talking a lot about history tonight. If you do not know history, you are not going to understand what is happening now. You have to understand where you came from in order to understand where you are and where you are going.

The More Forgiven, the More Love

Luke 7:36: “And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.”

Luke 7:37: “And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,”

The statement “a woman in the city, which was a sinner,” is interesting because we are all sinners. But that tells us that this woman had a reputation for being a sinner. She was known for her sins.

Luke 7:38: “And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”

Luke 7:39: “Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.”

Note that the Pharisee “spake within himself,” he did not say anything out loud. He thinks this inside. I am sure you say things in your mind, everybody does, that nobody hears out loud, and in some cases that is good. But that is what this man did. He speaks within himself saying if “This man, if he were a prophet” – notice that he says prophet and does not say, Messiah. He does not say if He were the Savior if He were Christ but calls Him a prophet. What does that tell you about this man? It tells you that this man thinks Jesus might be a prophet. He does not think He is the Messiah.

What this man, this Pharisee thinks, “This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.” — yet he does not stop to think, “Yeah, so am I.” He does not think that way. Most people do not. Most people look at somebody else and they are convinced that those people are sinners, but they themselves think that they are okay, that they are the one good person in the room.

This reminds of a story I heard by two pastors, decades ago. One said, “You look tired brother.” The other said, “I am tired.” The first asked, “Why are you so tired?” and the other replied, “I was up all night.” The first asked, “What kept you up all night?” and the other answered, “I was praying.” The first asked, “What were you praying about?” and the other answered, “I was confessing sin.” The first queried, “You had so much sin that you had to stay up all night?” The other answered, “No, I was confessing your sins.” And that is how we look at it, isn’t it? We can always see the other person’s fault; we can always see the other person’s sins. We need to check the mirror.

This is how this Pharisee was, saying to himself, “This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.” Sin robs us of peace in our hearts. It does. You have heard people talk about and hard it is to believe about this group of people, but maybe some of you have experienced what is called a guilty conscience. Maybe you felt guilty about things. That is good. That is hard to believe in this setting but maybe you have. You have a guilty conscience and maybe your guilty conscience has kept you up all night.

Not a Good Thing

I am going to tell you something I did as a young person, and I am not proud of it. This is not a good thing that I did. I was about 13 or 14 years old somewhere in that era. We lived in Florida, but we had gone up to Tennessee. My family and I went up to visit and I met an old friend that I had known since kindergarten or first grade. We got together one night. And boys when they get together sometimes come up with ideas that are not good and that do not make sense and that you would never want to do. But you do it because you think you are having fun and you want to have an adventure.

So, what we did, we went up on a hill and just below the crest of the hill, it was not lighted with streetlights or anything like that. We took bottles like soda bottles and things and lined them up across the road. Cars would then come over the hill and their headlights would light up those bottles and they would jam on the brakes, and we were sitting in the woods just laughing and having a great time. We thought it was so funny that we were making those cars stop like that. And a car would pass, and we would set the bottles up again and wait for the next car to come. And we would see the car come over and braking and stopping and we just laughed and laughed. We were just having fun.

Time passed and we went home. I went to bed that night and I could not sleep. I was thinking what if somebody got hurt in one of those cars. They did not have seat belts in those days. What if someone hit their brakes and they slammed into the dashboard. Did that happen? I do not know. But I could not sleep for thinking about it.

So, what was wrong with me? I had a guilty conscience. I had a guilty conscience because I was guilty. I am not proud of that story, not at all. But that is the kind of thing human beings do. You do things and you think you are having fun at the time, but later you would be thinking about it and say that you should not have done that. That was wrong, I might have hurt somebody, it is bad.

I would love to tell you that that was the only thing I ever did wrong in my whole life, but it is not, not nearly. Is that the worse thing? No, it was not the worse thing either. “You mean you did something else that might have hurt somebody?” Yes, too many times. And sin causes us to lose peace in our hearts and lives.

The Two Debtors

Remember, the Pharisee said those words to himself, he did not say them out loud, but Jesus knew his thoughts. By the way, Jesus always knows our thoughts. So, Jesus says to the man:

Luke 7:40: “And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.”

Why does the man call Jesus, Master? Because he recognizes that Jesus is a teacher. He recognizes that and says, “say on.” – or “let me hear what you have to say.” So, Jesus told a parable about two debtors who were forgiven.

Luke 7:41: “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.”

Luke 7:42: “And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”

One debtor owes one-tenth of what the other owed, but the creditor forgave them both. He forgives both of them.

Luke 7:43: “Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.”

Simon got it right. He had figured out what Jesus was trying to tell him. The one who was forgiven the most loved the most.

Luke 7:44: “And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.”

Notice that Jesus turns to the woman but is still talking with Simon. It is important to get that. It was common practice in those days when a guest came to your house you gave a basin of water and a towel and you would wash their feet. Why? Because their feet would get dirty walking on the roads. Didn’t they have clean streets? No, they did not have clean streets and most people wear sandals in those days and their feet would get dirty walking the streets.

Luke 7:45: “Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.”

It was customary in those days when a guest came into your house you would kiss them on the cheek as a welcome, like we might shake hands today. I told you this before, but I will tell you again. When we were in Israel, we went to a home one evening that was a first century home that had been excavated. Was it the home of Simon the Pharisee? I do not know. It was somebody’s house that they excavated, and they taught us a great deal about the way of life in the first century and it was extremely interesting.

They decided to observe the Lord’s Supper in that house that evening. So, the man and the woman who were the hosts that evening stood at the door to greet everybody as would have happened in the first century. As the people came in the door, there were approximately 35 of us, they kissed each one on the cheek. I just waited outside until they were done with all that kissing and then I went in by myself. I am not big into that to tell you the truth, especially people I do not know. But that was the custom, and that man and woman were doing things that were done in the first century.

That was the custom. Yet Jesus said to Simon that he did not offer Him water and towel for His feet and this woman washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Jesus also told the Pharisee that he did not give Him a kiss when he came in, a custom of the day. But that woman, since the time that Jesus came had not ceased kissing Jesus’ feet. A kiss on the cheek is one thing but kissing feet is another, I do not think I could even do that, but she did.

Luke 7:46: “My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.”

Anointing the head with oil is not something you did for every guest but for a special guest you would do that, somebody you wanted to honor, you would do that. The woman anointed Jesus’s feet with ointment, expensive ointment.

Luke 7:47: “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”

She loves a great deal because she has been forgiven a great deal. And Jesus tells the Pharisee that he did not love much because he was not forgiven much. The Pharisees did not think they had much to be forgiven of. They felt that they were okay, that they were righteous in and of themselves.

Luke 7:48: “And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.”

Luke 7:49: “And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?”

Again, they say it within themselves, they do not say it out loud but were thinking, “Who is this that forgiveth sins also?”

Go In Peace

Now we went through this whole passage to get to this 50th verse:

Luke 7:50: “And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”

How was this woman saved? By doing good works? No, by faith. Notice the last three words, “go in peach.” She did not have peace when she came in that night because of her sin, but she left that house that night with peace in her heart because she was forgiven. The Lord’s forgiveness of our sin is what brings us to peace.

Luke 8:40: “And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.”

Luke 8:41: “And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:”

Luke 8:42: “For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.”

Luke 8:43: “And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,”

Luke 8:44: “Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.”

Luke 8:45: “And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?”

Luke 8:46: “And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.”

Luke 8:47: “And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.”

Luke 8:48: “And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”

Jesus tells the woman to go in peace. Our Lord’s grace and His mercy bring peace to us. And only Jesus can bring us lasting peace.

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.”

Jesus is saying He can give peace that the world cannot offer. You cannot get that peace from the world; you can only get it from Him.

Acts 10:34: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”

Acts 10:35: “But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”

Acts 10:36: “The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)”

The Word God sent to who? The children of Israel. Was what? Peace by Jesus Christ. He is Lord of all. Who is going to bring peace to the Middle East? Let me share something with you that is true. Every President of the United States, at least as far back as Jimmy Carter, maybe before that, every one of them has tried to be the man who would go down in history as solving the Middle East crisis, every one of them, up to the current president. Have any of them brought peace there? No. Some have made more progress than others. Our previous president made more progress than anybody, but did total peace come? No.

Peace With God

The only one who will bring complete peace to Israel is Jesus Christ because He is the Messiah of Israel.

Romans 5:1: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Stop right there. First of all, the first requirement is for us to be justified, for us to be saved, as we saw in the stories of those two women. To be saved by grace through faith, being justified. Justified how? “by faith, we have peace with God” – an extremely important statement, peace with God. Why? Because our sins separate us from God. Our sins make us the enemies of God, we are going to see that in this passage. And how do we have peace with God? Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:2: “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

We have access to God by faith. Again, sin separates us. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the Holy of Holies in the temple tore from top to bottom, opening up and showing that we finally have access to God.

Romans 5:3: “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;”

Romans 5:4: “And patience, experience; and experience, hope:”

Romans 5:5: “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Romans 5:6: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

When there was nothing we could do, “Christ died for the ungodly.” – not for the godly person, not for the righteous person, but for the ungodly person, for those of us who are sinners.

Romans 5:7: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.”

Some of us would give our lives for another person. I want you to think about the worst criminal you ever heard about. I ask about the ones you ever knew because there are probably ones far worse than you ever knew. Think of the worst criminal you ever heard about. And let’s suppose that that worst criminal you ever heard about was arrested, tried, and convicted of their crimes and sentenced to death. Would you step up and say, “let me die in place of that person”? No, you probably would not. You would probably say that they deserve what they are getting. For what they did they ought to die. That is what it says here.

Romans 5:8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners” – not when we were good people, not when we were righteous, but “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:9: “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

We would be saved from the wrath of God on our sin, through Him.

Romans 5:10: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Do not miss this, “For if, when we were enemies,” – we were the enemies of God, and yet He dies for us to bring us new life and to bring us to peace. That is what it means back in verse one when it says:

Romans 5:1: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

No longer the enmity of our sin, but peace with God. Before we can have the peace of God, we must have peace with God. There is no shortcut for that.

Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

You get the peace of God which nobody understands after you have peace with God.

Peace With Brethren

Colossians 3:15: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

One body, meaning the church being called together, be thankful with each other because we could have the peace of God in our hearts, our minds, and our lives because we have peace with God. And when we have peace with God and the peace of God, then and only then can we begin to have peace with ourselves. You know, some people are just angry and upset with themselves. You have got to have peace with yourself. “You mean forgive myself of sin?” Yes, that is what we mean. First, you get the Lord to forgive you, then you can forgive yourself. We could have peace with ourselves and with our families. Sad to say, not all families have peace. Many families have continual strife. But if all parties come to the Lord and have peace with God, then they can have the peace of God and with the family and peace at home.

Then we can get peace with our neighbors. It would be good to have peace with our neighbors. I am thankful that all through our married life we lived in areas where we had peace with our neighbors. We had good neighbors and I am grateful for that. But not only can we have peace with God, ourselves, our family, and our neighbors, we can have peace with the brethren.

“Well, you’ve never been to a church where there has been strife among the brethren.” Yes, I am sorry to say, I have. There was a period in the late 1970s and early 1980s, where it looked like Satan just took a sickle and just cut a swath through South Florida and I saw church after church after church split. There was no human connection, no set of people going to these churches causing this, but it happened in a period of years. Church after church split and brethren were angry with each other and not very many good things came out of that. We were in an area as we are now, greatly in need of revival.

But we can have peace with the brethren. I am not talking about some ecumenical compromise that causes us to say that Jesus is not God, and the Bible is not God’s Word and salvation is not through grace through faith. I am not talking about that. I am talking about we can have peace with the brethren, those true brethren who are born again and have been saved when we have peace with God, and we have the peace of God. And if we have peace with ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our brethren, then and only then can we have peace among nations. And that is going to happen when the Prince of Peace returns.

Is there no hope of having any peace at all until then? Oh yes, there is. We can begin by having peace one heart at a time and that is where it begins. It will not be complete until the Lord comes. But we can have peace as individuals and that peace we have within us as individuals can spread to other people and help them.

Get in-depth knowledge by viewing or listening to the sermon: Principles for Peace

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Dr. Michael L. McClure, our lead pastor, is known for his in-depth knowledge and effective teaching style of biblical truths applicable to every day living.

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