Bible Text: 1 Peter 1:2-9, 25; John 14:25-27
If there is anything outstanding and important that one needs to know about the 1st Epistle of Peter then it is this; he is writing to scores of Christians who have been dispersed and scattered all through Asia Minor because of dire persecution and trials.
Trials, to state the obvious, are perennial and, therefore, there are trials that not only the Christians of 1 Peter had to face but also, it is equally applicable to you and I and also many other Christians across the world who are going through similar trials. Let me remind you of that with a Scripture.
“…Remember that your brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.”
Again, trials are not limited only to Christians but, they are ubiquitous and affect even the non-Christian just as much as they affect Christians. However, you need to know that, concerning Christians, it seems to me that trials and even persecution come our way for one purpose and one purpose alone and that is to sanctify and purify us as God’s elect; those who belong to Jesus Christ and those Jesus Christ is committed to in bringing them through life in order to ensure that they will be with Him in heaven one day.
GRACE AND PEACE ARE INEXTRICABLE!
Just as a footnote, Peter uses Grace and Peace in the same sentence (verse 2). The reason for this is that they are inextricably combined. In other words, Grace is a favour and blessing from Christ – a favourable benefit – and Peace is just the same. Therefore, Grace cannot come without Peace and, conversely, Peace cannot come without Grace!
Remember, the context of 1 Peter is all about facing trials and even persecution. The problem for you and me is this: how in the world are we able to make sense of this, especially where we live in a world that seems completely devoid of Peace?
Even I, in this past week, had to constantly check my own heart all the time to prevent myself from acting out my old nature – as a non-Christian, a person who used to be full of hatred and lash out at situations any way I pleased. I tell you, family; it is becoming exceedingly difficult as a Christian these days to still maintain our Christianity, especially when we are commanded by Jesus to “LOVE OUR ENEMIES!” (Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-36)
AN UNDEFILED, UNFADING AND IMPERISHABLE INHERITANCE KEPT IN HEAVEN FOR US! (VERSE 4 )
What is an “Inheritance”? Well, in our culture and mindset, an inheritance is something that the children get when their parents have died and have hopefully left something for them afterwards. However, when it comes to the Jewish culture, an inheritance is received and experienced before the parents have died. In fact, the children benefit from the inheritance even while the parents are living. This is why Peter says that this inheritance is unfading and imperishable because it has been given to every single believer right now and is theirs forever.
In one sense it is already received and in another sense, the full inheritance will only be realised in Heaven. The word “Kept” (τετηρημένην) means that this inheritance has been secured and is reserved by God for His people. In other words, this inheritance is being guarded by God, Himself, for His people. Therefore, you need to know that, for the true believer; as we journey through this life, our inheritance is being experienced now in part and will be fully realised when we see God face to face and receive the fullness of what He has secured for us.
BEING GUARDED BY GOD’S POWER FOR A SALVATION READY TO BE REVEALED! (Verse 5)
This is why verse 5 tells us that we are “Being Guarded by God’s Power for a Salvation ready to be Revealed”. The idea behind this is that God is guarding (φρουρουμένους) this Salvation, keeping it in His custody for us, just in the same manner as a military guard would guard and display whatever offensive or defensive means are needed in order to fulfil his duty.
Once again, I am mentioning all of this because I want to get to a very crucial point this morning. One may rightly ask the question: “Well, if I am being guarded by God, then why has there been no peace in my life at this moment or even in this last week or last month etc.?” “Why does it seem that there is trouble around me and also in my own life every other day?”
IN THIS YOU REJOICE…! (Verse 6)
Furthermore, and one final point that I want to make, and which I want to pose as a question before we move on to the Book of John Chapter 14 is this; “How in heavens name is one meant to rejoice when bad things happen, especially to Christians; to good people?” “Where is all the so-called peace in the midst of these bad situations and circumstances?”
I confess that this can only be done if we continually and persistently cling to our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and be filled with His Holy Spirit on a daily basis. There is no other way that we can walk through this life as Christians unless we are filled daily with His power and His Holy Spirit.
WITHOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT, EVERYTHING ELSE IS MEANINGLESS!
You need to know that, without Jesus promising and giving His Holy Spirit, everything else after verse 16 will be completely meaningless for us! As a born-again Christian, it is not just a promise from Jesus to send His Holy Spirit just because He is feeling benevolent or happy, but He is sending His Holy Spirit in order to lead us in all righteousness [and truth]!
The statement in verse 16 about the giving of the Holy Spirit is not just there so that we can be “Good Christians” or “Super-Righteous Christians” because, if that is the be all and end all of it then that would not even make sense to us in the context of verse 27.
Let’s face it; there are ungodly, unsaved, and un-regenerate people who happen to also act in righteous ways, many times even putting many Christians to shame. Many times, we find so-called born-again Christians who act in such unrighteous ways that it brings disdain and disrepute to the name of God and also to Christianity as a whole.
Everything that is being said about the Holy Spirit from verse 15-26 is building up to verse 27. It is more than just the dispensation of the Holy Spirit to God’s people but, rather, the end result and the main point that is of utmost importance of John 14:27 is that of “PEACE”!
PEACE – A POPULAR WORD; BUT AN ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE REALITY!
Let’s face it; peace is a constant pursuit by the whole world, both by the unregenerate and also so-called Christians alike. They are forever chasing after it but never seem to find it, at least, the true Peace that Jesus speaks of in verse 27.
John MacArthur says; “Peace for the world is the absence of what troubles them”. In other words, the peace that the world seeks is not the peace according to what God has in mind and, therefore, it is not that true peace that they actually receive. It is said that when there is a war and both sides stop to reload, there is a moment of peace. That is not peace!
Peace is not toleration; peace is not toleration or any other vile social behaviour or a “Peaceful” governmental proposal, which by the way, is generally disproportionate and one-sided. The pursuit of peace has been hard to find and, in fact, it seems to be hidden and seems that the world has been unable to find it as yet and, neither will they ever find it.
THE WRONG PURSUIT OF PEACE!
People pursue peace in various forms: shopping, recreation, drugs, spending money and the list goes on and on. Many people say that peace will only come when there is social change or economic change. For instance, in our own country, certain people are being led to believe that peace will only come when all the farms are taken away and handed over to their rightful owners – the previously deprived owners. That in itself is a lie because even if that were to happen, peace will still not be attainable at all because, “… The heart of man is desperately wicked and who can understand it”. (Jeremiah 17:9).
21For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Hate will continue, lust will continue, envy and jealousy will continue, pride will continue, and so will all those evil things that are inherent and natural to all people continue. People will never find peace, nor shall there ever be genuine peace between human beings. Neither will there ever be peace between man and God especially when the peace that man seeks and accepts is the peace that the world offers on a platter that is plated with fool’s gold.
By trying to fix the external things, peace will never be found or established. It may be momentary or temporary but, it will quickly fade away in a blink of an eye. If I can paraphrase 1 Peter 1:24 then it will sound something like this:
1 Peter 1:24 (Paraphrased).
“All flesh is like grass and all its glory is like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, and just, in the same manner, is it with the peace that man seeks after – it may seem glorious for the moment but in the end, it will fall and come to nothing.”
Those who do not truly know God in this wicked world will never ever have true peace. Again, let me remind you, peace in the world can be defined as “The lull in the battle when everybody stops to reload”.
THE BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF PEACE!
“Only God and God’s through His word [is able to] authoritatively point to real peace.” (John MacArthur).
Opposite to this; the only peace that the world can try to offer, and by the way, it will always miserably fail in this, are things like; freedom from trouble, prosperity and wealth and riches, to be free from conflict, to have no stress, absence of hostility and unrest. Peace for the world is “having no trouble” and being free from things like; being fearful, stress, anxiety, depression, cancer, AIDS, and any other thing that causes unrest in the human heart and soul may cause damage to the human body.
This, by the way, is an insufficient and incomplete definition of peace (MacArthur). It is the only peace that the world can offer, you need to know this. This type of peace is superficial and always temporal.
Now, according to God, the most excellent and reliable definition of peace is that which we have just read in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…”
HAVING PEACE WHEN HELL IS BREAKING LOOSE!
You have got to know that, when Jesus spoke these to His Disciples words in John 14:27, He was facing the most dramatic, disturbing, and distressing moment in His life and that was shortly to happen – His Crucifixion. The tumultuous ordeal he is about to face is horrendous but, yet, He speaks these almost unbelievable words to His disciples knowing full well that He is soon to be viciously assaulted and gruesomely crucified on a Roman cross. Further to this, Jesus knows that He will be separated from His father and punished for all of the sins of the world; for all the sins of the people throughout history and also for all the sins of the people that Jesus knows will in future come to believe in Him and trust in Him.
Jesus knows this all too well so that in John 14:28 He says “… I am going away…” because He knows what is lying ahead and looming over Him.
However, verse 27 tells us that Jesus says to them (His disciples) “… Let not your hearts be troubled.” And so, Jesus is going to give to them – his disciples – a kind of peace; a unique piece that will be very different to what the world can ever offer. It is a peace that will put an end to their troubled hearts!
- A SUPERNATURAL PEACE – ONLY FOR THOSE WHO BELONG TO CHRIST!
This peace is a supernatural peace that not only can come from God but, also is a piece that is uniquely and specifically for only those who belong to Christ.
- THE NATURE OF THIS SUPERNATURAL PEACE!
Now, I want to take a look at the nature of this peace and, therefore want to break it down into two logical parts; A) Objective Peace and B) Subjective Peace.
- OBJECTIVE PEACE!
Objective peace is that type of peace that is outside of you. It is not experienced by you nor can it truly be created by you, although it may seem that way in many instances. As Christians, however, you need to know that this Peace is created by God and is harnessed by the Christian and utilised by the Christian to bring peace to circumstances and situations that are outside of us and most of the time out of our control.
- SUBJECTIVE PEACE – John 14:27!
Subjective peace is that type of peace that is inside of you and is experiential. In other words, it is a peace that is experienced by you as an individual and when it comes, you as a Christian will know for certain that it was never created by you or conjured up by you. In fact, it is a peace that is not from you but independent of you. Furthermore, it is important to know that this type of peace is specifically placed there to guard your heart and your mind and your Christian life in Christ and keep you rooted in Christ.
4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness [or gentleness] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, this subjective peace is actually based on the supernatural peace that Jesus was speaking about in John 14:27.
NO GOD, NO PEACE – KNOW GOD, KNOW PEACE!
Again, I need to reiterate this and emphasise that this peace which is given by Jesus is not for any other person or persons but only for those who belong to Him. NO GOD, NO PEACE – KNOW GOD, KNOW PEACE! In other words, there will never be any peace in the world because God is not known by the world. This peace is for those who are reborn, justified and sanctified by His Holy Spirit. It is for the genuine Christian – the Christ follower; the one who has no other god before him or her. This peace is for those who know God and are known by God! (Romans 4:24-25; 5:1)
Rev. S.C Bryant (OMIN CLC) BDiv Cum Laude, MI
CLC Website: http://clcladysmith.com
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