SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes    Note 10/03

The Peace Formula

Reading: Micah 4

1. Universal Aspirations

Mankind yearns for peace. There is no end to the efforts made to obtain peace. Never a week passes but the word 'peace' is in the news. Why is it that man, with all his advanced knowledge, is unable to live at peace with himself, his community and the world at large? The human heart hungers for peace. That is why we have:

2. The Sad Reality

But the sad reality is: there is no true and lasting peace in the world. In virtually every country and department of life we see turmoil, tension and all too often - open warfare. Peace treaties are no sooner made when they are broken. They are hardly worth the paper they are written on. Yes, though peace is a popular objective these days, war is more often than not the reality. The threat of war is always near. Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, the former Soviet Union, various parts of Africa, Iran, Iraq, the Gulf states and Israel: all hot spots - all ready to explode again into open warfare. The Bible predicted this tragic escalation of turmoil hundreds of years ago. It says:
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.
8: All these are the beginning of sorrows.

1 Thessalonians 5: 3: For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

Open warfare

In the book of the Revelation we are given a symbolic picture of how peace will be taken away from the peoples of the earth. We see a red horse: its rider wielding a "great sword" the universally accepted symbol of war!
Revelation 6: 4: And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

Persecution / Sectarianism / Ethnic Cleansing / Anti-Semitism

Peace within communities is also scheduled to vanish. Religious persecution, ethnic cleansing, sectarian war and anti-Semitism are all forecast to increase. In one of his famous prophecies concerning the signs preceding his return the Saviour gave this warning:
Matthew 24: 9: Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

The Apostles confirmed this

2 Timothy 3: 12: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13: But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Inner Turmoil

Peace will not only vanish from the earth: but it will be a rare thing to find individuals who have inner peace. For the fact is: the more wicked people become, the less likely they are to experience peace of mind, peace within. The Bible says:
Isaiah 57: 20: But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
21: There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

3. What is Peace?

The dictionary defines 'peace' as 'freedom from war and disorder.' How is peace achieved? According to Scripture 'Peace is a spiritual fruit, a product of the Holy Spirit.' In other words, freedom from war and disorder can only be produced by the Spirit of God. Can mankind produce this spiritual fruit without God's help? The answer is: man is no more able to produce peace in the world, the home or the heart without God's Spirit, than he is able to create an apple without soil, water and light. I repeat, 'peace is a spiritual fruit' which mankind cannot produce without Yahweh's help. Only the Almighty can give us peace. To be sure a horticulturist may co-operate with the Almighty by planting, watering and tending his orchard: but the final product, the fruit, is produced by God. In the same way, only God can produce the spiritual fruit of peace. Few politicians have understood this fundamental fact about peace: and that is why they do not approach the Almighty for His help. They vainly imagine that they can produce peace through discussion, through dialogue or some other process. Oh how terribly wrong they are! The Bible says:
Galatians 5: 22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23: Meekness, temperance:
against such there is no law.

John 15: 5: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Note the words: "without me ye can do nothing." In other words a spiritual fruit such as 'peace' cannot be attained without God's help.

4. How can Man obtain Peace?

Having recognised this first fundamental fact about peace - that it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit - how do we obtain it? Can we buy peace from God? The answer is: No we cannot buy peace. It is not for sale. To obtain true peace we must first make our peace with God. Only then will He grant us the peace the world so desperately seeks. Peace is free for the asking; but you'll only get it from its original, spiritual source. Mankind cannot produce it. It is a divine gift. Yahweh's Son (Jesus) put it this way.
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.

How is this done?

What are we supposed to do? Where do we start? The answer is found in various Scriptures, some relating to literal agricultural crops. But their real message points to the higher fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace etc.
Leviticus 26: 3: If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
4: Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
5: And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
6: And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
7: And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
8: And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
9: For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.
10: And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
11: And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
12: And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
13: I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

Numbers 6: 23: Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
24: The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
25: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
27: And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.

James 3: 17: But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
18: And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

5. Levels of Peace or the Lack of Peace

The fact that true peace is a spiritual fruit which is only produced in the lives of obedient believers is quite evident in human society.

The Wicked have no Inner Peace

Isaiah 57: 19: I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
20: But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
21: There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

The Righteous have Inner Peace

Isaiah 48: 17: Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.
18: O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.

Psalm 119: 165: Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

If you look around you will notice how true these texts are. In fact you may even evaluate people's spiritual performance by the love, joy and peace they exhibit in their lives; just as you would judge the skill of a gardener by the produce of his/her garden. However, before examining others, ask yourself this question: Do I have peace in my own mind and in my home? If the answer is no, then do not waste time, do something about it: because now you know the peace formula.

6. The Reign of Peace

I have good news for you: a reign of peace involving all nations is about to begin. It will begin when Yehshua the Messiah, the Prince of Peace returns to earth. Then the law of the Almighty, which is the formula for lasting peace, will be taught and obeyed all over the earth. The result will be peace on earth for the first time ever!
Isaiah 9: 6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Micah 4: 1: But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
2: And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3: And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

7. The Peacemakers

Meanwhile the Christian has this duty to perform: to point others to Yeshua, the Prince of Peace and to Yahweh's law, the Instrument of Peace.
Matthew 5: 9: Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the Children of God.

People who accept Yahweh's offer of salvation through His Son Jesus will find true peace and rest to their souls. Those who reject will not have peace no matter how desperately they seek it. The Saviour's appeal and the Apostle Paul's reassurance is as follows:
Matthew 11: 28: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

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.

SBS     More about Peace

Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
February 1996 ... Reformatted March 2000