To own the peace of God (in English and Luganda)
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To own the peace of God
Psalms 119:165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
To own the peace of God is a precious gift from God. In the letter to the Galatians it says the the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and peace, and there peace is in third place. It speaks something to us since greatest of them all is love, but peace is still something very precious and a great gift and grace from God. Those who do not have peace in their hearts they long for it and search for it as a precious treasure, and we, who have been given peace in our hearts and with God, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, we should rejoice over it and thank God for it, because it is precious and sweet.
David Wilkerson tells in one of his sermons about an actor who had everything. He was very rich, he had success, fame, a beautiful wife, house, car and many other things. But he did not have peace. He sold everything he owned and bought a small island without inhabitants outside the shores of Africa. He built a small house and tried to find peace in solitude and in the quietness. But he could still not find peace. A short time thereafter he sold the island and came back to the USA and he said: I have been looking for peace but I realize there it is nowhere to be found on this earth.
And he was right. Peace is nowhere to be found on this earth, at least not a lasting peace, a peace that lasts for time and Eternity. Yes, even in the life of a Christian who have peace it is sometimes disturbed by hard times, worries or fear, but it will always come back in time and we can always find it again in the arms of Jesus.
In my old life I was looking for the three first things that the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy and peace, and I was looking for them in exactly that order. Love was the thing that I was looking and longing for most of all, to be filled with love for God and people. To love and be loved. To love my fellow man. And to have love to give to them. That was the deepest longing and desire of my heart. But I was searching for love within me, but love is not to be found there, because it does not live there. Love is to be found in Jesus. Jesus, only Jesus, can give you the love you are looking for. Oh, the love of Jesus, it is like no other thing.
I was also looking for joy, a lasting, inner joy, and I was looking for it in parties, jokes, laughter, comedy films and such things. And I quite often had a good time, I was both joking and laughing, but in the next moment it was gone, and all I had left was emptiness. That joy did not last, because it had its source in this world, and that joy will not last. True, inner, lasting joy is to be found in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. It is not a joy that always makes me laugh all the time. Yes, I do both laugh a lot and like to make other people laugh and smile, but it is an inner joy that I carry with me most of the time. Yes, I also cry and mourn when I hurt, but I also have a joy, and the well of that joy is not in this world, but a joy in the Lord and that will last.
But even if peace is on third place I was also looking for peace, everywhere. I tried with meditation and yoga and by walking quietly in the forest. I tried everything, but I could not find peace. Because true, lasting, inner peace is also found not in methods or techniques, but when we acquire peace with God the Father, and that can only be given to us through faith in Jesus Christ.
So where do we find love, joy and peace? In Jesus Christ, and in Him only.
And both I and this actor were searching for peace in being separated from this world, and that is in a way true. Because peace is not to be found in this world, but becoming a citizen of another Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, because it is a Kingdom full of grace and peace. And when we are in that Kingdom, we are in some measure not any longer a part of this world. Yes, we live in it, but not of it. We live, eat and drink and work, but we belong to another world, and it means that those who believe in Christ can own peace even in the storm.
Because it is a peace that is not based upon my feelings, what I can see around me with my eyes, but it is based upon the fact of what Jesus did for us on Calvary. Even if I am afraid or experience pain or anxiety, which of course happens and is not so funny, what Jesus did for me on the cross still stands firm. That foundation can not be shaken by anything that happens here on this earth. Jesus has won peace with God the Father for us all. He has taken away all our sins and the judgement of God upon us and given us Eternal life. That is something that is not dependent upon my feelings.
Then, how do we acquire peace with God? In Romans 5:1 it is written:
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Here we see the reason for our peace. Those who believe in Jesus, that trust in Him and what God says that His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, has won for us on the cross of Calvary, that person is declared righteous before God the Father. We have been justified, by grace through faith, and have been given peace with God. This righteousness is not our own, you can not find it in yourself, not even after being born again, but it is a gift from God merely by putting faith into what Jesus has done for you and me on Calvary.
And through this simple act, by believing what Jesus says, that whoever believes in Him will have his sins, his debt before a Holy God obliterated, abolished, and only through this you will be given access to the Grace that God offers all people. The Grace and Peace that God offers to all men are two incredible gifts given to those who believe in Jesus Christ. All we have to do is to believe in Jesus and put our hope and set our gaze upon Him. And hope does not put us to shame, because God´s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. The love of Christ, the love of God, lives in our hearts. That is the greatest gift of all. The love of Jesus in our hearts.
And then we see the fruit of the Spirit. The joy in the hope. God’s love poured out into our hearts. These are amazing Words. Those who believe in Jesus and trust in what He has done for us on Calvary, they have been given grace and peace from God the Father. As a gift. It is an amazing fact. And the love of God is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit and that gives us reason to boast of the Glory of God.
John the Baptist said: behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. This is what brings peace to our hearts. We trust that our sins are forgiven and that we children of God simply be believing in Christ. There is no sacrifice necessary. There are no works that we need to do. We can not accomplish this with good deeds, charity or other things which are good, but they can never save you. They can never give you forgiveness of sin and peace with God. John the Baptist said: behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
We just trust that by believing in Christ our sins are taken away and forgiven. That’s what gives us peace. Many are looking for inner peace, which can only be given to those who have peace with God. They think, in various religions, that they whould in some way deserve peace with God, and they try to work for it with good deeds. They bring forth various sacrifices before God, which also the Jews did during the times of the Temple in Jerusalem. They brought forth lambs, goats, pigeons to atone for their sins, to have their sins forgiven and forgotten by God, but it is totally in vain. God says no, this is the Lamb of God, that is the atonement for your sins, My Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
In the West many people give money to charity or help refugees, and those are good deeds, but they will never save you, never have your sins forgiven before God the Father, they will never ever save you. Only faith in Christ Jesus can save you. You can never compensate, make up for your sins by good deeds or sacrifices. Jesus is the sacrifice that gives a whole and full forgiveness before God the Father for all our sins.
And we need to remind ourselves of this often and go back to what Jesus Christ did for us on Calvary. It is fulfilled. It is all paid for. Jesus has taken it all away from you and given you peace. Jesus is the Lamb of God, and He has been sacrificed already. The price is paid. We just beleive in Him, that He is the Lamb of God and that it is true that He has forgiven us our sins and transgressions. We simply receive it by faith. It is all paid for, just believe it. Our hearts, our conscience, knows the Law of Moses since birth, because Paul writes that the Law is written in the hearts of the heathens. But our hearts knows nothing about the Gospel. We know nothing about the free salvation and forgiveness of sins that is offered by God the Father in and through Jesus Christ.
So we must hear it. Faith comes through hearing, and hearing the Gospel, the Word of God. And we must hear it again and again, in order to have it written in our hearts.
When we have been given access to the Kingdom of God we live in this world, but not of it and not for it. We are still here but we do not fully belong here any more.
1st John 2:15
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Even these words can be misinterpreted. It does not mean that we are careless with other people or the environment. No, we love them and take care of them. But we are still a little but of stragngers here. We live in the midst of this world, and we bear Christ with us and in us and we are light and salt in this world, but we do not put anything of this world in the first place. No, we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and live of and for Christ Jesus.
It is also written that he who does the will of God will live forever. When we do the will of God we will be given peace. Jesus said: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. If we walk in the Divine will of God we can have peace in every situatuion, even though we of course not always experience that in our feelings. And if we are troubled, we can go to Him and ask Him to give us His peace.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It says that the peace of God transcends all understanding, and I believe that has several meanings. It means that it is immense, so great that we cannot understand it, but I believe that it can also mean that the people of this world can not understand it. I believe that the shakings of this old world will increase more and more, throughout the world, and then peace will be even more precious. We have to learn already now to have our peace in Jesus and remember that the peace of God is there even in the storm. The boat may be in the storm, it may be rocking, but Jesus comes walking on the sea, and Jesus says ”I Am”. Don´t be afraid. Look at Me. Come to Me, and I will give you My peace, in the midst of the storm. Don´t panic. Jesus is still there.
And then the peace of God will transcend all understanding of this world. Those who belong to this world will say: how can you be so calm with all these things happening now? How can you have peace, joy and hope in your heart? Haven´t you heard the news? But then you can answer: haven´t you heard the Gospel, the good news from God? Haven´t you heard what Jesus has done for you and me on the cross of Calvary? Haven´t you heard that Jesus is Coming back soon and that the Kingdom of God is soon here? We will have a song in our hearts, we will have a joy and a hope for the future. We will have the strenght to go through, because we don´t rely upon our own strength, but by the strength given to us by faith in Jesus Christ.
We also find rest in Jesus. There is always peace in the presence of Jesus. We can loose our peace if we have been working hard or are worried, but we can always come to Jesus with whatever troubles us and He will give us His peace. Because Jesus is always at peace. He knows that the victory is already His and He is just waiting for that to be revealed to everyone. The Kingdom of God is drawing near. Jesus does not panic.
In Hebrews 2:8 it says:
Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus.
When things are beginning to shake in our world we should not let that fill us with fear. Jesus says that it is birth pains, something is being born, something wonderful and great. But this is something that must happen, must come.
Wilkerson speaks about this in one of his sermons. He says that we should remind ourselves that God the Father has placed all things under the Feet of Jesus. All things. We do not see that fully today, but we see Jesus. That Day is coming, and nothing that happens can change that. We see things around us getting harder, but we see Jesus. We know in our hearts that all things will soon be placed under the Feet of Jesus.
We see Jesus. We do not get too involved in politics, war or things like that, no we see Jesus. We see Him as The Prince of Peace, Coming to establish His Kingdom where He will reign and we together with Him and we remind us of this in order not to loose our precious peace.
So we say: Jesus, I trust you. Jesus, Your Kingdom is coming. Jesus, everything will happen according to Your Word.
In the beginning we read Psalms 119:165: Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
If we love the Commandments of God, His will for our lives, we will have great peace and nothing can make us stumble. It will make us firm. That is something to place in your heart for the future. Amen.