And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 18 March 30 2008
In this issue:
April 27–May 2, 2008
lessons nightly, Mon-Fri at 7:00 PM
(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
A person must be at peace with God in order to have genuine peace with others. The Jews and Gentiles did not have peace between themselves until Christ brought peace to all men through his gospel: “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” (Eph. 2:14-18) Today, Jews and Gentiles have peace with God in one body, the church of Christ.
Peace is the goal and calling of the Christian’s life. Now that you have peace with God through your forgiveness in Christ, you are called upon to be at peace with others: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18); “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). We cannot live in hatred, malice and strife toward people and think that we are at peace with God.
Christians are called to peace by the gospel of Christ: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Col. 3:15). Instead of allowing the world of sin to control your attitudes, your motives and your conduct, the peace of God must “rule in your hearts.” Like an umpire who calls the balls and strikes, the peace of God is the standard to be followed in how we treat others. Jesus said to treat others the way we wish to be treated (Matt. 7:12). Surely, we wish others to treat us peacefully. We can do no less if we are to be faithful to Christ.
What is Necessary to Pursue Peace
1. The gospel of Christ. To pursue peace you must obey by the gospel of peace (Rom. 10:15; Eph. 6:15). The gospel not only saves us from our past sins, it also shows us the way of life that keeps us at peace with God and with people.
2. A pure heart. A clean heart is essential as you build Bible character in your life. Paul told Timothy to pursue peace by joining with all those who “call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22). A heart that is defiled by sin (such as hate) cannot be at peace with God or with man.
3. Wisdom from above. Two kinds of wisdom exist in this world; earthly wisdom, and heavenly wisdom. James assures us that “the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (Jas. 3:17). Every description of heavenly wisdom reveals a commitment to peace with God and with men. It takes wisdom to know how to pursue peace in this life. God’s word is the source of wisdom that will give you peace throughout life: “My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you” (Prov. 3:1-2).
4. Unselfishness. Strife comes from selfish choices and selfish actions. One reason for “wars and fights” is the selfish treatment of others (Jas. 4:1-4). Pursuing and keeping peace requires self-sacrifice and considering others first before you think of yourself (Phil. 2:3-4).
5. Humility. Only by humbling ourselves before others are we able to pursue and keep peace. After rebuking the brethren for their “friendship with the world,” James urged them to humble themselves in the sight of the Lord (Jas. 4:6-10). Pride stands in the way of peace; humility opens the door to it.
6. Kindness. Kindness in your heart will help you be a peaceful person. It takes determination and hard work to always show kindness. By being kind you will be like God and his kindness toward us in Christ. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:31-32).
7. Pray for peace. Prays for rulers are so that “we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Praying for our enemies should include supplications for peace (Matt. 5:44). A peaceful person is a praying person who relies on God for his or her life of tranquility and safety.
8. Faith in God to right the wrongs of this life. Taking vengeance on someone who wrongs you prevents you from pursuing peace. “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:17-18). It is up to us to “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:20-21). God has promised that he will fully judge and punish evildoers (Rom. 12:19).
-From Building Bible Character
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 16:1-6
1. Men & women
were created in the image of God; Pure in heart with no shame or guilt of
sin, Gen. 1:26-27; 2:25.
I. TEMPTATION AND SIN.
A. Lusts from
Within and Enticements from Without, Jas. 1:12-16.
II. MEN SAY “FOLLOW YOUR HEART”…
A. In Your
Personal Faith and Religious Service, Gen. 4:3-5; Heb. 11:4 (Acts 26:9; 1
Tim. 1:13; Jas. 1:26); Matt. 7:21-23.
Conclusion. The heart is deceitful, not because God created it so, but because we yield to temptations and as a result, sin distorts, damages and destroys the purity of our heart. Repent & follow God’s word.
Turning off the Lights
“St. Paul, Minn. — The City of Minneapolis will turn off lights in some downtown buildings as part of the International Earth Hour Saturday night from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
This effort to reduce carbon emissions calls for residents and businesses to turn off any unnecessary lights and electrical appliances for one hour. Minneapolis council member Scott Benson said the city will turn off lights on the Stone Arch Bridge, too.
"The hope is that people will adopt strategies in their own life that will decrease their energy usage... Things that they will do every day will just become second nature and common place for folks," Benson said. (“Minneapolis to turn off the lights for one hour on Saturday,” Ambar Espinoza, Minnesota Public Radio, March 28, 2008)
International Earth Hour – now that’s a new one on me. I was taught, “waste not, want not” (weren’t you)? We didn’t need an “earth hour” to teach us not to be wasteful.
Something needs to be said, though. Turning off the lights is not always good. For example:
* Jesus Christ is the light of the world (Jno. 8:12). The life that is in him is “the light of men” that expels the darkness of sin and death (Jno. 1:4-5). “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (Jno. 12:36). His light will never be turned off despite the efforts of godless and faithless people.
* Christians must always let their lights shine (Matt. 5:14-16). Unbelievers want you to turn off your light of godly influence by joining them in their sins (1 Pet. 4:3-4). But, you are “light in the Lord”, so “walk as children of light” and do not be deceived into thinking turning off your light is a good thing (Eph. 5:6-8). Keep your light on – never turn it off!
* The light of truth will always shine (Jno. 3:19-21). Those who love the darkness of sin hate this light and what it turned off. But, God’s word of truth will always light the way of righteousness (Psa. 119:105).
The truth is, the lights are already off! It’s time to turn on the light and walk with Jesus in the light of truth.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 03/30/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA