Pulpit Today Sermon
by Robert D Pace
I See Peace!
1 Thessalonians 3:16
Today, I’m speaking on the subject, “I … See … Peace.” Can you spot it? Better yet, have you ever related peace to the five empirical faculties of our being—That is, what we see, smell, touch, taste, and hear? For example:
There are occasions when a fragrance is so soothing that it creates a peaceful atmosphere.
As a child, we felt peaceful when our mother’s hand stroked our cheek or back.
What about that sublime peace that swirls in your mouth when you partake of a warm, delicious dessert? You thought you might get raptured before finishing it!
Then there’s the gateway of hearing and the many ways it is settled to peace. Whether by orchestras or choirs; gentle streams or cascading waterfalls; the cooing of a baby or the voice of a loved one—all can charm the atmosphere.
So among our five sensory faculties—sight, smell, touch, taste, and hear—peace is something that can be experienced with each one. And it’s the fifth sensory faculty of sight that I want to employ in today’s message. I want to discuss what I see about peace. And no doubt the appropriate starting point in my message is to define the word peace.
(Definition) The English word peace is defined as ‘the state of being calm or quiet; it expresses the lack of hostilities or disagreement.’ The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom, and it dramatically expounds upon the English word. Shalom is defined by the characteristics of “peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. Additionally, Jewish people frequently use shalom as an idiomatic “hello” and “goodbye.”
(Transition) Now that we have a definition for peace or shalom, I want to examine ways that Scripture employs its use. And my first point is this: I see peace, preeminently, as a person—Jesus Christ—who the Bible calls the “Prince of Peace.”
I. Preeminently, peace is a person—Jesus Christ—who the Bible calls the “Prince of Peace.”
Do you think your soul could rest without Jesus Christ in it? No! Nobody can. Since Adam’s transgression against God, his genetics have transferred a disposition of restlessness and dis-quietement upon the soul of humans. This is why billions of people are without inner repose. Their “insides” are in turmoil because Christ is not there.
Notice what Isaiah 57:19—21 says about this:
“Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him. (20) But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. (21) There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
Isaiah is disclosing the restlessness of the soul without God. It is impossible for the heart of our being to find rest without first finding its Creator. This is why God sent his Son to die on the Cross. Jesus came to reclaim the lordship of the earth that Adam forfeited to Satan. And he accomplished that feat! And he not only reclaimed the title deed of Earth, he reclaimed the title deed of the human heart/soul. That’s why none but Jesus belongs on its seat. All others fighting for that throne are intruders!
This is why the Bible calls our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, “The Prince of Peace.” It’s Christ’s priestly assignment to impart peace to the repentant and pardoned souls of humans.
(Transition) Secondly, I see peace in the form a Book.
II. Peace is a Book
It’s actually the “Book of books.” God has designed the Scriptures in a way that furnish us with guidance; that strengthens our inner being; and calms us in all circumstances. It is no wonder that the Apostle called this book, “The Gospel of Peace” (Acts 10:36).
There will be moments when your soul doesn’t “feel” right. It feels upset or distressed. And sometimes there’s nothing you can lay your finger on that explains why you feel that way. But these are times you can turn to the Scriptures!
You can simply scroll through the four Gospels and “Read the Red.” Are you familiar with the phrase, “Read the Red”? It refers to the “red letter” edition of Bibles, where the words of Jesus appear in red.
You can also read the Psalms in order to reclaim peace. The Psalms are filled with words of comfort and edification. David, Solomon, Moses, and Asaph—the writers of Psalms—beautifully express how they moved from misery, despondency, despair, or even hopelessness to reclaiming their peace. Their words of wisdom will encourage you, too!
Or you can pause, unplug, ask God to make known his presence. Ask him to send the Prince of Peace into the atmosphere. Then wait.
(Transition) Thirdly, I see peace as an exclusive gift from Jesus Christ.
III. Peace is an Exclusive Gift from Jesus Christ.
I want to explain why I see peace as an “exclusive gift.” It’s for this reason: The peace of God is nothing “earthly.” It’s not a contrived, upgraded psychological version of peace. And neither is it a chemically engineered peace-in-a-pill variety. The type of exclusive peace I see is found in John 14:27, where Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” It’s peace that comes straight out of Jesus! He called it “my peace”! And that means it’s divine, holy, other-worldly peace that comes directly from heaven. Now that’s the peace people need!
Do you realize that when we partake of Christ’s peace we are utilizing the exact peace Jesus used when he walked the Earth. To me, that’s an astonishing thought to contemplate!
Jesus offers me the exact peace that he used to fight Satan in the wilderness!
It’s the peace he used to stand before Pilate, the High Priests, and the Roman soldiers!
It’s the very peace Jesus took to the Cross and died with (Matt. 27:14).
Jesus brought this peace from the Throne of God in Heaven, used it in every occasion of his life on Earth, and then said: “My peace I give unto you”! What a thought!
This peace I’m talking about is totally pure, a hundred percent glorious, and without the least imperfection. It’s all of God, so it must be this way! So the next time you find yourself asking God for peace, understand you are requesting the express, exclusive, divine peace that Jesus used. Wow! If that isn’t something to ponder I don’t know what is!
(Transition) Fourthly, I see peace being invoked as a blessing from God.
IV. Peace can be Invoked as a Blessing from God
The word peace, or shalom, is mentioned 812 times in Scripture. Even today,“Shalom” is the most commonly used salutation and farewell that Jewish people invoke. We know this is appropriate and even important because the Apostles employed it in their greetings and benedictions to the NT Churches.
As a means of illustrating how wonderful the “invocation of peace” can be, I want to note how Paul articulated it in 2 Thessalonians 3:16.
“Now may the Lord of peace himself
give you peace at all times in every way.”
I want to read that Scripture again: “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.” How often did Paul say we can we enjoy this peace? He said it’s ours “at all times [and] in every way.”
(Corporate Profession) I want to pause from my preaching long enough for us join in a corporate profession. Here’s what I want us to profess:
“God gives me peace at all times and in every way.”
Isn’t that wonderful! I’m grateful that God’s peace is available at all times and in every way! Do you know what this means? It means you never have to wonder whether it’s God’s will to give you peace. You don’t have to pray about it. You don’t have to contemplate it. God has already made the determination for you. It’s his will to give you peace. He wants you to know this! Always remember it! It’s God’s will to give you peace at all times and in every way! When you are stressed, overworked, or “out-of-sorts.” It’s God’s will to give you peace at all times and in every way.
(Transition) Fifthly, I see peace as the prize God will award his people at the end of their journey.
V. Peace is the Prize God Awards Believers in Heaven
As we read the Bible, it becomes evident that those that were sent on a mission to find Jesus were awarded a special sense of satisfaction and peace when they reached their destination of finding him. I want to mention several people that found special peace when their destination led them to Christ:
John 1 mentions several people waiting for the Messiah’s appearance. There was John the Baptist, Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel. Each of these men fellowshipped with Jesus that day, and before it ended there was a consensus among them. Let me show you:
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, called him, “God’s chosen one” (34). The soon-to-be-apostles called him: “the Lamb of God” (36); Rabbi (38); “the Messiah” (41); “the Son of God” and the “King of Israel” (49).
There seemed to be a corporate sense of peace that settled on their souls as they declared their search was over. They had found the Grand Prize—the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth had appeared!
- Consider the Magi following that star for 700 miles. They could have traveled for two months. Then, when they reached Bethlehem, they presented their gifts to the King. One look at the Child-King and the Wise Men knew he was the Savior of the world. They had reached their destination; there was nothing more to do; now they could return home.
- Recall the shepherds that watched over their flocks, under the canopy of darkness. Suddenly, they were shocked in fear by millions of angels overhead that were glorifying God. So in obedience, they left their flocks and rushed to Bethlehem. Like the Wise Men, their transfixed gaze upon the Babe knew their “Chief Shepherd” had arrived.
- And what about the prophets Simeon and Anna who ministered at the Temple regularly? They were among the First Century’s oldest people that had waited decades for the promise of Emmanuel. I especially like the prayer of Prophet Simeon, who said: “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word” (Luke 2:29).
Do you see how the disposition of their soul fell into perfect repose? There was nothing greater to look for after finding Jesus. The journey is over. We can be at-rest. And one day, when we, too, reach the end of life’s journey, God shall reward us with everlasting peace. All-consuming peace! “Peace, peace, wonderful peace!” Hallelujah!
Here’s how 1 Peter 5:4 puts it for you and me: “And When the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
(Transition) Fifthly, I see that our Sovereign Lord and Creator bears the title, “The God of Peace.”
VI. The Sovereign Lord Bears the Title, “The God of Peace”
On six occasions the NT writers call him “the God of Peace.” (Eph. 6:15; Hebrews 13:20; 2 Thess 3:16; 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 Cor. 14:33; Romans 15:33). Ponder that title for a moment. The God who governs the universe remains in perfect repose despite dealing with the affairs of Earth. Despite wars and uprisings. Despite riots, rage, and political uprisings. Despite lawlessness and the blasphemous slurs upon his Name. Despite how people use his holy Name as a swear word day-after-day! And yet in all this, God maintains at peace.
I’m glad that our Heavenly Father is not like a vengeful Greek god who is impulsive, ill-tempered, and constantly spewing out mind-crazed wrath. No! The judgments of Jehovah are flawlessly meted out. You can be certain that God’s verdicts are just, fair, and in every case matching the sentence to the crime.
(Question) There’s so much to be said about the “God of Peace.” Why do you think our Heavenly Father bears the title, “God of Peace” and his Son bears the title, “Prince of Peace”? It’s for this reason: When life tests us; When we fall into the crucible of persecution; When tragedy, loss, or suffering afflicts us; We can be certain that God is always with us! We can call for his peace and it will surely rest upon our soul. It must envelope our soul; for he is “The God of Peace”!
Isn’t it comforting to know, that in all circumstances the “God of Peace” will stand with you? He will be in you, around you, and for you at all times! That’s the promise of his Word, and that’s why God has directly attached his Name to peace. He is Jehovah-Shalom, “God, our Peace.” Amen and Amen!
(Transition) Seventh, and lastly, I want to affirm that I see peace being the permanent disposition of all Creation.
VII. Peace will be the Permanent Disposition of all Creation!
Perhaps you’re unsure of how God will summon Creation and subject it to his peace. Well, I’m not perfectly clear on how he will do that either. But as Paul says, we can “know in part.” And here’s the “part” that I see happening:
Let There Be Peace
The Day draws near for Christ’s claim of the Earth.
The Day when Believers are redeemed from the curse.
The Day when God’s Peace, fills soul and universe.
You’ve not heard this word, this joy?
The Day when Peace, shall reign evermore?
Let angels lift voices, saints’ praises employ!
“On all God’s Mountain, none harms, none destroys!”
That is the meaning of Isaiah 9:7 when it says, “Of the increase of his government and [the] rule of [his] peace there shall be no end.” Can you fathom this? The human race, every planet, the trillions of stars, and billions of galaxies will all be cured and calmed by the Prince of Peace. I love how Isaiah 11:6—9 captures the peace of the earth in days to come:
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.