Wednesday, 23 January 2013


What is God's greatest Gift to Humanity?

"For 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, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

These words were written by the prophet Isaiah more than 700 years before the birth of Jesus. So here begins one of the many prophecies about the wonderful story of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came from heaven to save this world that had rebelled against him. About 3000 years ago, God began to speak to the world through the prophets of the land of Israel: "Look! The king of this world is coming! He will be as the light of the morning sun, as the sun coming up into a cloudless sky. "He will banish war from the earth, and bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea, to the very ends of the earth. His enemies will not outwit with, nor will the wicked overpower him". "I will make him the mightiest king in all the earth. His throne shall be as endless as the days of heaven. I will give him the ruling power and glory over all the nations of the world, so that all people of every language must obey him. His power and authority are eternal, they will never end; his government shall never fall". "He will reveal the meaning of justice to the nations of the world. He will bring at last true justice to the world. He will not rest or grow weary until truth and righteousness prevail throughout the earth". 

The Eternal God, who created the heavens, the earth and everything in it, and gives life and breath to every creature; He is the one who says concerning Christ, the Saviour, "Look! I'm going to give you a sign! A virgin shall conceive and give birth to a male child. He will be named 'Immanuel' (this means: 'God is among us'). He will light the path of all nations, and lead them to me. This prophecy tells us that a child will be born. The child will be unique – the child will be special. The child will be the one we know as Jesus Christ.  "The government of this world will be handed to him. These will be his royal titles:  He will be called:
Wonderful Counselor,
The Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace, 
"His ever-expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule with perfect fairness and justice, and bring true peace and righteousness to all the nations of the world. And the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God just as the waters fill the sea". 

Let us look at Jesus as being “Prince of Peace”. 
Shalom is the word for peace. In the Hebrew language, peace is a rich and powerful concept. Shalom means to make whole, to complete, to restore, to compensate, or wholeness, fullness, well-being, happiness, tranquility, peace. Jesus is the governor of well-being, the captain of happiness, the ruler of peace. If you can embrace this, you will see the Christ differently for the rest of your life. Remember what the angels said when they announced Jesus’ birth? 
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:16)
His first advent moments brought peace to all who visited him, his miracles brought peace to all who experienced them, and his words brought peace to all who received them, first to last. The farewell address of Jesus gave a formal talk to his disciples, you know what He said? “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1) He concludes the speech by saying, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – (John 14:27)

Jesus Christ is the source of peace. Jesus made the peace, offers the peace, and is the prince of peace. Peace is not the absence of war and tragedy in one’s life; it is the presence of (God) Christ in one’s life.  It is through Jesus Christ that one recovers the peace that Adam and Eve had with God before the fall; it is only in and through Jesus Christ that one acquires peace with others.

So Apostle Paul said “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15) Jesus Christ, the gift of God's love to mankind, is an unspeakable blessing; no man can conceive, much less declare how great this gift is; for these things the angels desire to look into. Therefore Christ may be well called the indescribable gift, as He is the highest gift God ever gave or can give to man; "Next to the gospel, salvation is God's greatest gift to mankind but the source of all is Jesus Christ."The Bible talks about three primary gifts that could be considered his greatest gifts to all mankind through our lord Jesus Christ. They are the forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Bible. )  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, (Titus 2:11) Salvation through our Lord Jesus is God’s greatest gifts, because the end result is being in God’s presence forever in heaven. And it’s the Holy Spirit so we may receive the Truth and be preserved in the Truth to set one free.  Imagine that this gift is what makes it truly indescribable and incomparable. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— (Eph. 2:8) let us ponder over this unspeakable and incomparable gift and bond of peace.

Paul said “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9).  The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted; but "though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor."  And He, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, King of kings, Son of Eternity, to whom all things belonged, decided to become poor for our sake. He then resurrected from the dead to become the life-giving Spirit. As the life-giving Spirit, God is able to dispense everything that He is and has into us so that we can become exactly what He is—the expression of God in humanity.

Bible says "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:4-6) “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10).

God is the ultimate being in existence, perfect in power, love, and character. Since God wanted to share His love with others, He created the angels and human beings—spiritual creatures who can relate to Him. Because God is love, He wants us to love Him and love other people. Scripture reveals that we are descended from Adam and Eve and their extended family. That family relationship—our becoming children of God the Father —is the heart and core of God's incredible plan for humanity! We have the priceless opportunity to be a part of that family, the family of God!

From the beginning this purpose has been clearly stated by God."Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . . So God created man in His own image  . . . male and female He created them" (Genesis 1: 26-27). This shows that man was created according to the “God kind." Indeed, to help us understand the parallel with God creating man in His image and likeness, Genesis 5:3 says that the first man Adam later "begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth." So God was essentially reproducing Himself through humanity.
Romans 5:1, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."  The root of peace is the right relationship between God and man between person and person between families and communities between nations. Peace is built on the foundation of truth, justice and love. Bible says “God is Love” and we are the offspring of God. Therefore God’s purpose goes far beyond the creation of mortal, perishable human beings. He is in the process of fashioning and forming "a new creation" fathering His own spiritual children—immortal and incorruptible children instilled with His very nature and character. The more we understand just what that means, the more spellbound we will become—at not only the majesty of God's purpose but at what this bring about for each of us personally.

God made us in His image and according to His likeness, similar to Him in every respect. For example, God is love, which is why we have a virtue called love; God is perfect, so we have an aspiration for perfection; God is just, so we have a sense of right and justice. God is God of peace, so we can have peace with God and to one another. In fact, every one of our positive attributes is a reflection of who and what God is.
God’s eternal love not only moved Him to create us. It also urged Him to go through a process so that He could enter into us and make us His expression. He, the infinite God, humbled Himself to become a finite human being named Jesus Christ. In Him, all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt, and through Him, all the fullness of the Godhead was expressed. Everything He did, said, and thought was a pure expression of God in humanity. This brought the highest delight to God, for in Jesus Christ, His eternal purpose began to be fulfilled in that a man was fully expressing God. Then the Lord Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified on a cross in order that through death, the God-expressing life that resided within Him could be released and made available to us.

Dear friends, Health and wealth, position and influence, popularity and power, wining and dining do not guarantee peace. But right relationship with God will.
When you come to Jesus Christ with your whole heart, your search for peace of mind will be over. He will give peace, and a calm that comes only from trusting Him. You will have peace of mind in a troubled world! Open the door of your heart to Christ—just now—and someday He'll open the door of heaven for you, where perfect peace will reign and never end.

One of the wonderful names of our Lord is Prince of Peace. And Jesus is the key to peace — whether it’s personal peace in your heart, domestic peace in your home, or eternal peace in heaven. It is in Jesus that the love of God breaks through His wrath. The Cross remains the sign of this Peace. It is only in the coming of Jesus that the barriers that are opposed to forgiveness are torn down. The picture of salvation is this: God descends and runs after men and women. If one wishes God’s Peace, this peace can only be found in the One who is the Prince of Peace.

“Jesus Christ came not only to preach a Gospel but to be a Gospel, and He is the Gospel of God in all that He did for the deliverance of mankind.” Jesus is the very heart of God’s Gospel because it is in His Person that God unites the human and the divine natures. It is in Him that one finds peace, because Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

Jesus said “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.(John 14:1-3) The Bible uses a lot of different words to describe heaven. In one place it is called "a country” indicates the vastness of heaven. In another it is called "a city” indicates the number of inhabitants. It is called "a kingdom" indicating that there is a governmental structure to it all. It is called "paradise" indicating its beauty and desirability. But here it is called, "My Father’s house," and that is another way of saying, "It is our home."

A little child, whose mother was dying, was taken away to live with some friends because it was thought she did not understand what death is. All the while the child wanted to go home and see her mother. At last, when the funeral was over, and she was taken home, she ran all over the house, searching the sitting-room, the parlor, the library, and the bedrooms. She went from one end of the house to the other, and when she could not find her mother, she wished to be taken back to where they brought her from. Home had lost its attractions for the child when her mother was not there. My friends, the great attraction in heaven will not be its pearly gates, its golden streets, nor its choir of angels, but it will be Our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Heaven would be no heaven if Christ were not there. When you are in your most severe crisis, the last thing you can hear is often the one thing you need to hear."Let not your heart be troubled, Jesus says, "Believe in God, believe in me."
Part 2
The Prince of Peace,

Bible says “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have accessto the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:14-18)

 “For he himself is our peace...” (Ephesians 2:14)

The word peace occurs seven times in the Book of Ephesians (1:2; 2:14; 2:15; 2:17; 4:3; 6:15; 6:23). Paul begins this Epistle with greetings—“Grace and peace” (1:2). In this salutation, grace comes first and then peace. As a result of God’s grace in and through Jesus, one experiences peace, reconciliation, wholeness, newness and access (2:14; 2:15; 2:17) with God. It is because of this Peace that Christians are to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:4).
In this very remarkable passage of Ephesians two, the apostle gives us the way of peace. He uses as an illustration the fact that Jesus Christ bridged the widest gap which ever has existed between men -- the abyss between the Jew and the Gentile. Why it is so difficult to settle the Arab-Israeli problem in the Middle East. The greatest minds of our day have tried to work that out, and no one has gotten anywhere near a settlement. It is because this conflict is extremely difficult to bridge. Paul describes how Christ actually does it. And this is a wonderful picture for us of how peace can be brought in any area of conflict. Paul says, "He is our peace,” speaking of Christ, and He has made peace “so making peace" and, "He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near." In those three occurrences of the word peace, you have the Blue print of how Christ makes peace, the way he goes about it. So it is very important that we note these. He is our peace (2:14) that is the source of peace. Then there is the procedure of peace, how it is actually brought about -- he came and made peace (2:15) finally there is the means of proclaiming that peace -- he preached peace. (2:17)

The word peace in Ephesians 2:14 is about the Prince of Peace that Isaiah (9:6) prophesied about seven hundred years before His coming in human flesh (John 1:14). One can say that Christianity had a life before its birth (Genesis 3:15). This One that is called Jesus is the One who reconciles lost people to God. It is in this same vein that Isaiah also predicts: “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). Again, Isaiah proclaims: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (53:5). One can say that the Gospel is the Good News that God is creating a new world in which peace dwells. This peace can only be found in the One who became flesh. Paul starts with a definition of what true peace really is. True peace is oneness. It is not merely the cessation of hostility, the absence of conflict; it means being one.

Paul as he seeks to grasp the richness of God’s grace calls out: “For he himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). Again, Paul puts across the very center of this peace as existing only in Jesus, as he expresses elsewhere in very concrete words: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Jesus enters the world of sinful history in order to redeem. Just a perusal of God’s whole revelation reveals God coming down to save sinful men and women. As one reflects upon the Incarnation, one quickly realizes that the cross of Christ and the message of the atonement are the last phases of the Incarnation. One cannot understand the life of Christ if one does not understand His life as culminating in the Cross. God makes “peace through his bloodshed on the cross” (Colossians 1:20). It is obvious that the death of Jesus was not a tragic defeat; it was a component of God’s age-long purpose (mystery) for the deliverance of both men and women from condemnation.

The Cross of Jesus makes it impossible for us to take forgiveness of sin lightly. The crucifixion of Jesus is the outcome itself that gives forgiveness of sin its complete weight. In the Cross of Jesus, one witnesses divine holiness and divine love. God Himself has provided the divine safeguard—the Cross of Jesus. God wants to have communion with His creation, but this peace is found only in one’s acceptance of Jesus as God’s message of free grace. Forgiveness and justification and peace of the sinner can only be found in the suffering Savior (Isaiah 53). In order to have peace with God, there must be forgiveness. When one reflects upon his or her guilt, one realizes that guilt is too great to be removed by forgiveness pure and simple, that is to say, God could not just speak: “I forgive you.” The doctrine of forgiveness is established upon the Atonement of Jesus. The Atonement for sins is not offered by men and women, but by God Himself. In the Atonement, one observes God descending and running after lost humanity.

God makes peace through the Cross of Jesus. It is in the Cross that one observes God’s holiness and God’s mercy coming together. In the words of the psalmist, one can also say that “righteousness and peace kiss each other” (Psalm 85:10). Deliberation upon the Cross of Jesus causes one to reflect upon the words of Paul to the Galatians: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law,  to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). As one studies the Book of Ephesians, one should pray that this Scripture would sink into his or her heart and stand fast. The very essence of the Christian faith is to believe that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). One cannot live with God unless one’s sins are forgiven. Forgiveness is only found in Jesus. Paul writes with power as he ponders God’s grace: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

Peace is oneness, harmony. It is sharing mutual enjoyment. The secret of oneness is a Person: "He is our peace."  When Christ Jesus makes peace between individuals or between nations -- that peace will be a satisfying, permanent, and genuine peace. It will be a real peace that will last. God starts with the person and in order for you to live at peace with someone else; you must be at peace with the Person of Christ. If you have his peace, then you can start solving the conflict around you. But you never can do it on any other basis. So the place to start, the foundation of peace, is the settling of any problems between you and God. That is always the place to begin.

Now look at the procedure of peace. How does it happen? It comes in three stages, Paul says. Three things must happen before you really have oneness. But this is what Christ can do, and this is the way he does it: First, he "has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances,” And, second, "that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace," And, third, "might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end."

 Paul is talking about the ending of the great conflict between the Jews and the Gentiles of his day. He says the first thing Jesus did was to break down the "dividing wall of hostility." Paul is referring to a feature of the temple in Jerusalem. He was a Jew, and He understood the temple -- wall, which ran through the court of the temple, dividing it into two sections, separating the court of the Gentiles, where the Gentiles were permitted to come, from the inner court, into which only Jews were permitted. In the year 1871, archaeologists, digging around the temple site in Jerusalem, actually uncovered the very stone marked with this warning. These were the actual words, translated from both the Hebrew and the Greek: "No man of another race is to proceed within the partition and enclosing wall about the sanctuary. Any one arrested there will have himself to blame for the penalty of death which will be imposed as a consequence."
Now, the wall is a symbol of the Jews attitude towards the Gentiles, they despised and hated them. There was enormous hostility between these two peoples. There are walls like that among us. There is hostility and hatred and defiance and suspicion and distrust between communities. But the apostle says that Jesus Christ knows how to remove these walls. Paul tells us: "by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances." That is the way. It is the Law which makes the hostility, and if you remove the Law, you'll end the hostility. The strength of any hostility is demand. This is what the apostle is saying. What creates hostility? Why, a self-righteous demand upon someone, a demand without any admission of guilt on the part of the one demanding, a one-sided justice, a holier-than-thou insistence. This is what creates hostility. The Jews despised the Gentiles because they considered themselves better than Gentiles. "We have the Law of Moses," they said. "The Law is right and true; it reflects the character of God. You Gentiles don't have the Law." And in their blindness and self-righteous hypocrisy, they thought they were keeping this Law because they didn't do some of the outward, external acts the Law prohibited. And so they hated and despised the Gentiles because they thought they were superior. The Gentiles, on the other hand, hated the Jews, because they knew they lived in self-righteous hypocrisy. So there was intense hostility between them. Jesus' solution is to take away the Law. Remove that from the picture -- help them to see that the Law judges both alike -- and you'll end the hostility. Put them on the same level -- so they both need grace, both need forgiveness and salvation -- and you remove hostility.

This is so beautifully exemplified in a story in the eighth chapter of John's gospel. Jesus is confronted with a woman taken in adultery. “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said.“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:3-11).

No one knows what Jesus wrote. But whatever he wrote, those who watched him became convicted of their own guilt, and, beginning with the eldest, they began to find excuses to get away and so they began to disappear. Finally only the woman and Jesus were left there together. Now, what had he done? Well, he had simply applied the Law to the judges as well as to the judged, that's all. He'd brought them under the same Law. And this is what Paul says Jesus has done with the Law. He fulfilled the Law in himself, and by doing so, he rendered both Jew and Gentile unacceptable before God. He showed them how the Law was meant to be fulfilled. And when they saw his impeccable life, the Jews knew they were just as guilty as the Gentiles. This is what Paul argues at great length in Romans 2, 3, and 4 -- that the Jew has no advantage over the Gentile at all simply because he knows more truth, but that he stands on exactly the same ground -- Jew and Gentile need to be forgiven. And so our Lord gave them a common ground of forgiveness. And when he did that, there was no hostility left.

So this is the way to start ending hostility: Stop being self-righteous. Remove the self-righteousness, the demand that one change without any admission of a need for change on the part of the other. This removes hostility. But as long as one insists that the other is all wrong, and there is nothing at all he needs to change, then of course hostility and resentment remain.

 There is a second step: "that he might create in himself one new man." Only God can take a situation which is nothing, and make out of it something. God creates out of nothing. He makes a new man, a new unity which never existed before. Here in Ephesians, of course, the new man Paul refers to is the church itself. In the church, there is neither Jew nor Gentile. The Jew does not have to become a Gentile; the Gentile does not have to become a Jew. There is a new man, a new person created. And the same is true of any other division among men. In that sense, the church is never to integrate; it is to make a new man. They both bring what they are, and they discover that there is oneness, fellowship, a union, a beautiful relationship and an acceptance of one another. A new unity is formed, which cannot be discovered apart from the settling of hostility on the ground of the peace that Jesus Christ gives.

There is still a third step: "and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross." In other words, ultimate peace must be with God. Once the hostility has been ended by the removal of a self-righteous spirit and they have begun to experience this new unity in Christ, must see themselves as being forgiven and accepted by God. Otherwise, self-righteousness will begin to arise again, sooner or later. If there is any area in which one feels superior to the other, in which one says, "I didn't need quite as much forgiveness as that one did; my level of life was higher," then self-righteousness starts in again. But if they stand before God on the same level, on the same ground exactly, both needing the same forgiveness, then the hostility is brought to an end. This is what the apostle says, "thereby bringing the hostility to an end."

The only ground we have to stand on before him is that of forgiveness, and "not of works, lest any man should boast," (Ephesians 2:9). Therefore, everyone stands before God on the same level. When people see this, hostility is brought to an end. Nobody is pointing a finger, nobody is blaming the other, nobody is saying, "Well, if only you'd done this, then I could have done that." All such division and schism and hostility is brought to an end, and there is only the reception of the grace and the forgiveness of God. Hearts are healed, and hostility ends. This is what is brought out in the last section -“He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:17-18)

Preaching is simply the announcement of a fact. You can either accept it or reject it, but you can't quarrel with it. It is what God says is true -- that the ground of self-righteousness has been removed, and a new relationship is possible. A new relationship will come into being which will be better and more beautiful, richer than anything you've known before. And God says he is satisfied with the arrangement, that he accepts you both on those terms. Then what? Well, the last step is beautiful. It is communication with the Father: "through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father." You can come before him, upheld by the mystery of the entire Trinity at work on your behalf. This is probably the greatest statement in the book of Ephesians. "Through him [the Son] we both have access in one Spirit to the Father." There is the Trinity of God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- all working together to bring us into the closest possible relationship with God: the understanding and the daily experience of his Fatherhood, his Fatherly care over us. So we begin to understand that the circumstances of our life are chosen by the Father, that the trials and pressures and joys and sorrows all have been selected by a loving Father. We begin to see that his provision of power and truth and life is all available in Jesus Christ, and we understand that we can appeal to him. We can cry out to him. He invites us to communicate with him, to unload before him all the burdens and pressures of our life. And we begin to live in this relationship with the Father.

There is nothing higher than this. When the full glory of this relationship breaks upon us, we will have discovered that nothing can be greater. "This is eternal life," Jesus said,” Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent," (John 17:3).

At the heart of this amazing peace-making process, Paul tells us, Through Jesus we have peace with God and we have the peace of God. Peace with God has to do with our right relationship with God (Romans 5). The peace of God has to do with our hearts and minds being filled with assurance, hope, and contentment in Jesus (Philippians 4:7).Jesus is the Prince of peace, the ruler of the kingdom of peace, and his subjects are peacemakers. Jesus is the only one who can calm the tempests of the soul, quiet the churning waves of the heart, and lead us safely to divine peace. What is peace of mind? It is a state of inner calmness and tranquility, together with a sense of freedom, when thoughts and worries cease, and there is no stress, strain or fear. Jesus invites all men to the most meaningful, life- changing experience. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Will you accept His invitation, “Come unto me”? He offers light for darkness, trust for doubt, peace for strife, joy for sorrow, rest for weariness, hope for despair, and life for death. God made man with a living soul which longs to be in fellowship with its Maker. Psalmist cried   “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1, 2). Only the living God will satisfy the soul. Of this you may be certain: you will never be at peace until you are at peace with God.

A story was told about a man, when he was young. He jumped from a bridge into a river and he was drowning. There was another young man who was watching him what was happening. After some time, he also jumped into the river. Brought the man to the shore, took him home, after giving him the hot bath, gave him new clothes and food , made him sit down, spoke to him gently and ask him to lead a good life and sent the man away with hope and faith.
Twenty years later, in a courtroom, there was a judge sitting and a criminal was brought with charge sheeted for murder. When the criminal came in, he looked up and the judge was looking very familiar so he said, excuse me Sir? And somebody said quiet please. The case proceeds. The judge was about to pronounce the verdict, the man again said, Sir Do you recognize me?  The judge looked in his eyes and told him, “yes, I recognize you, I remember you. Twenty years back, you jumped into the river, to commit suicide, I jumped behind you; saved your life; brought you home, spoke to you as a friend, told you to live a good life.  I was an advocate at that time, today you stand as a criminal before me, and I sit as a judge. I can’t help you . So the judge pronounced the life-long death for this criminal. Friends, Jesus Christ is Savior today, but judge tomorrow.
Jesus Christ did not come to this world to judge us; He came to be our Saviour. God looked on this sinful world, and He knew that only by sending His Son Jesus to this earth could anyone be saved. Jesus is holy, perfect and good, He came willingly to die in our place, a sacrifice without spot or blemish, so that if we ask Him to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, He will forgive us and cleanse us so that we can go to heaven. Today Jesus Christ is your Saviour, but tomorrow He will be your judge.
Before you go to bed this evening I wish that you would open your Bibles. Start with the first words— "In the beginning, God!" This is the right starting point for a man's faith. Now turn to the last Book in the Bible, to Revelation 20:12: "I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God." Start with the one and end with the other, and this is the story of God's dealings with His people. We see Him as Creator. We behold Him as the ruler of nations. We see Him as the judge of His ancient people. We behold Him as the father of Jesus Christ. We hear Him crying out through the lips of His Son to a wicked generation. At last we see Him seated upon the Throne. Time is being finished. The Books are being opened, and the dead, small and great, are standing before God. Stop for a moment and think about Him. He has showered His love upon you ever since you came into the world, yet you have resisted Him. Prepare to meet thy God, because He is God. Acknowledge your sins. Accept Him as your Saviour. Confess Him before men. Follow Him faithfully. One day you will meet God, and will hear His welcome — "Well-done."



We continue with the 5th and the last part of our study about “Peace of Mind in a World of Anxieties and Animosities” for this our text is taken from the Gospel of John chapter fourteen. In this part of the Gospel, Jesus is giving His homily to the Apostles after the Last Supper meal, before His Crucifixion.

 Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14: 27)

John was very selective in recording the words and works of Jesus Christ,Peace I leave with you “- This was a common form of benediction among the Jews. It is the invocation of the blessings of peace and happiness. In this place it was, however, much more than a mere form or an empty wish. It came from Him who had power to make peace and to confer it on all, Jesus, fully aware of the distress and death he is going to face but wanted to encourage his disciples with His farewell word of peace. Jesus has confidence in God's plan and power (13:3) and knows that God is in control. Full of peace in the face of tremendous suffering, He offers His peace to His disciples; a peace that is unlike the world in that it is grounded in God's sovereignty and is genuine, given without ever being retracted, present in the worst of trials. Christ being about to die and leave his disciples, makes his last will and testament, and as the best legacy he could leave them, bestows peace unto them; “my peace I give unto you” he left the Gospel of peace with them, to be preached by them to all the world; which is a declaration and publication of peace made by his blood; is a means of reconciling the minds of men to God and Christ, to the truths, ordinances, and people of Christ; of relieving and giving peace to distressed minds; and which shows the way to eternal peace: and as Christ had kept his disciples in peace one with another, so he left them in peace;

Now question is How is it that Jesus could give His disciples "peace" when He was about to suffer death on Calvary and His disciples would soon go through the worst experience of their lives up to that time?
Look at the words of Jesus before his death Jesus said “The Father loves me because I give my life. I give my life so that I can get it back again. No person takes my life away from me. I give my own life freely. I have the right to give my life. And I have the right to get it back again. This is what the Father told me." (John 10:17-18 ERV)

Jesus didn't just die; he died with power and authority. His life wasn't taken from him; he laid it down willingly to die for our sins. His crucifixion was an apparent defeat for some, but turned into a lasting defeat for the evil one who sought to use his death to win a victory over God. No one could take Jesus' life. He gave it willingly to save us and purchase us from death. The Cross is God's love and power demonstrated in humanity's worst forum. It is our glory!

Jesus said he was choosing to lay down his life for us. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this that someone lays down his life for his friends."2Before his crucifixion Jesus was very clear and fully aware of his imminent crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus stated his intent as he talked to his Father: "that the world [may] know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Jesus volunteered to become a human forever, to take our part, to reconcile for us and on the cross, He accepted our guilt. Taking on the role of the offender, He could then reconcile us to God. And that’s the final piece of the puzzle as to where God was when Jesus died.
The Father hid His face, fully aware of the pain it caused, so that Jesus could experience the separation that sin entails and fulfill the wrongdoer’s role. Though unseen by Christ, the Father actively engaged with the suffering Son. For God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ. Both Matthew and Mark record Jesus’ cry, “Why have You forsaken Me?” Both accounts next relate that someone gave Jesus some sour wine. Christ then cried out once more in a loud voice, and breathed His last. John’s account also mentions the sour wine and the loud cry, but John, the only disciple actually on Calvary that day, tells us that when Jesus received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished.”Jesus experienced the agony of separation from the Father. In that anguish, He cried out the words of (Psalm 22) “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Yet He realized that this separation was part of the process of reconciliation.

The psalm declares “He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” And with that realization came the certainty that His task—the one for which He was born, and for which He came to this world—had been completed. So as Jesus finished His task in triumph and breathed His last, He heard in His mind the words of the last verse of (Psalm 22:27-31 GNT) “All nations will remember the Lord.  From every part of the world they will turn to him; all races will worship him. The Lord is king, and he rules the nations. All proud people will bow down to him; all mortals will bow down before him. Future generations will serve him; they will speak of the Lord to the coming generation. People not yet born will be told: “The Lord saved his people.”

Two thousand years have passed since the Crucifixion and resurrection Day, yet the Bible account enables us to visualize the event with a great deal of accuracy. As we gaze up at the death and resurrection, we realize that it is only because Jesus was willing die on the cross that we don't have to live lives of desperation. The darkness in our hearts that makes us surrender to the power of death, the darkness in our society which makes us victims of violence, war and destruction has been dispelled by the light that shines forth from the One who gave his life as complete gift. Resurrection symbolizes victory over sin, death, and all destructive forces in people’s lives. .   Resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith. It is precisely because the physical resurrection of Christ is at the very heart of our faith and Hope.

Just three days later, at evening on the day of His resurrection, Jesus came and stood in the midst of His disciples and said to them, "Peace be with you.-- Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord" (John 20:19, 20). What an amazing King! Death and the grave could not hold Him. Resurrection of Jesus made all the difference in the world. The death of the body, some day, is strangely linked, in a way that we do not fully comprehend, with the death which is at work in our inner lives, right now. That is, death is all one thing, whether it takes place and affects the physical body some day, or whether it is taking place within the spirit of man today. It is all of a piece. And that inner death is what we experience in a thousand ways - sometimes as loneliness, bitterness, emptiness, despair, depression of spirit, and sometimes it is malice and resentment and violence. Whatever it may be, it is not what God intended for man. It is an enemy which has seized man and lives with him and haunts him in everything he does. The glorious hope as it is in Jesus, is that Jesus Christ, in dying and rising from the dead, that he defeated it by his risen power. And the result  is peace instead of restlessness, acceptance rather than guilt, love in place of lust or hate, power to replace weakness, joy for mourning, beauty for ashes, hope for despair, courage in place of cowardice, and cleansing from all dirt and filth of spirit.

"Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: 'I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea' “(Isaiah 48:17, 18).

The Old Testament prophecies claiming the Messiah would be the Prince of Peace were referring to peace with God through the new covenant of peace. Through this covenant, the Messiah would justify sinners through His sacrifice as the guilt offering of God. Those who accept Jesus as Savior experience the peace provided by Christ. This peace surpasses all comprehension for those who have never experienced it before.
"Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble" (Psalm 119:165).
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength" (Isaiah 26:3, 4). Trusting in the Lord brings peace and strength.

In the above scriptures, peace is equated to "heeding" God's commandments and trusting Him. "Heeding" implies to pay attention. God's commandments were given to guide mankind in ways of peace and doing what is right. All God's laws are given to benefit men and women, to direct them in the way of doing what is right and to protect them from sin and suffering. Paying attention to God's laws means following them, practicing them, being guided by them. When we follow God's instructions, our peace will be "like a river." This is God's promise to us.
What is the promise to those who do not pay attention to God and His instruction? "There is no peace," says the Lord, "for the wicked" (Isaiah 48:22). That's pretty clear. Those who heed God's commands will have peace. Those who ignore Him will not have peace.
What do you do to get real peace of mind in your daily life?  Where do you found peace of mind? Well, the best place to begin is with the prince of peace, Lord Jesus Christ. God wants you to have true and everlasting peace by having you not worry - about anything. Peace is not an absence of war; it is the presence of Christ and His love, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, and justice. Nothing can bring you peace except the prince of Peace and He said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
I wonder how many Christians have really come to understand the great fact that peace is our inheritance. Peace is what Jesus has left us. It is fundamental and cannot be taken away from us by any circumstance. That is what He means by, I do not give to you as the world gives.

God’s peace is greater than anything we can desire or imagine. God’s peace means becoming a people who seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves. When Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you,” he is telling us to be people who bring God’s Peace to all people and to all the nations.
Jesus wants to give us all Peace. Jesus wants to give us all of this and more than we can either desire or imagine. Jesus doesn’t want us to worry, he doesn’t want us to get stressed about exams or about what other people think about us Listen as he calls to us, He says: My own Peace I give to you; I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. Peace I leave with you. It is yours to have and to give to the rest of the world.

"We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).

Nothing can bring you peace, but Christ. Nothing can bring you peace, but the victory over yourself, triumph over your body and mind, desires and cravings. If you have no peace within yourself, it is vain to seek it in external objects and outward sources of this world. Where then can you look for full security and perfect peace? You can find this in the perfect relationship with Christ. He is an embodiment of peace. He is beyond time, space, and matter. Real, deeper peace is independent of external conditions. Real, abiding peace is Jesus. If you can rest in this ocean of peace, all the usual noises of the world can hardly affect you. If you enter the silence or the wonderful calm of divine peace by stilling the bubbling mind and restraining the thoughts and withdrawing the outgoing senses, all disturbing noises will die away. Motor-cars may roll on the streets; boys may shout at the pitch of their voices; railway trains may run in front of your house; several mills may be working in your neighborhood - and yet, all these noises will not disturb you even a bit.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6, 7).

Only a heart centered in God can be kept steady and peaceful. The psalmist declares, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed, I will sing and give praise.”(Psalms 57:7). With the whole trust in God, he could rejoice in quietness of mind. With our hearts fixed on God, we have inward peace in the midst of outward troubles. It is possible to be “troubled on every side, yet not distressed… perplexed, but not in despair” (2 Corinthians 4:8)

I heard a story of a little girl who walked to and from school daily. The weather one morning was questionable and clouds were forming, yet she made her daily trek to the elementary school. As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with thunder and lightning. The mother of the little girl felt concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school and she feared that the electrical storm might harm her child. Following the roar of thunder, lightning, like a flaming sword, would cut through the sky. Full of concern, the mother quickly got into her car and drove along the route to her child's school. As she did so, she saw her little girl walking along, but at each flash of lightning, the child would stop, look up and smile. Another and another were to follow quickly and with each the little girl would look at the streak of light and smile. When the mother's car drew up beside the child she lowered the window and called to her, "What are you doing? Why do you keep stopping?"The child answered, "I am trying to look pretty. God keeps taking my picture." It’s all about our heart...A hearts fixed on God can be the salvation of a difficult situation.

“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6)
The mind of sinful man is death, The phrase the apostle here uses, includes the best part of corrupt man; the mind, the perceptive, the judgment, the will, the desire, the thoughts, the reason, and reasoning of sinful man; This sinful man , or to live under the influence of the carnal mind is to live in the state of condemnation, and consequently liable to death eternal: whereas, on the contrary, he who is spiritually minded has the life and peace of God in his soul, and is in full prospect of life eternal. Spiritually minded men are the only living persons in a spiritual sense, they have a spiritual discerning of spiritual things; they are not only alive, but lively in the exercise of grace and discharge of peace. Peace is outcome of spiritual mindedness; this is a fruit of the Spirit; a part of the kingdom of grace which is the gift of God passes all understanding, which will be perfect and eternal.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”. (Romans 14:17)
Since world peace is an outward reflection of our inner psychological state, it is imperative for us to discover an inner peace not borne of the world. It is important for us to be in the world but not of it. Bible says the kingdom of God is in you. Righteousness is in you. Joy is in you. Peace is in you. Love is in you. Wisdom is in you. All of the things of God are already in you in Christ Jesus because they all abide in the Holy Spirit, and He abides in you... if you are a spirit lead believer. The bottom line is that the kingdom of God which we have been called into is not about these physical things and mental debates. We should settle in our hearts and walk in the truth we know, but the kingdom is about righteousness, peace and joy. Righteousness is the state which makes a person acceptable to God. 
"The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places" (Isaiah 32:17, 18).
Peace is not only the absence of strife; it is also the fullness of righteousness, assurance, quietness and love. We constantly look at ourselves, others, and the world through the pale cast of thought. We emphasize labels rather than relationship. We overlook simple acts of loving kindness as if they were exceptions to the rule, rather than a natural expression of our true nature. Love is an inner realization of a multidimensional higher truth; yet, we still have the ‘free will’ to pursue negative and unproductive behavior patterns, and, in this regard, evil must be equated with human cruelty. Thus, what the world needs now is new paradigm thinking replaced by new paradigm loving. Love is the only true paradigm, and it is the only hope for the future of humanity. In this violent world, where quite often our foes can be found in our own homes, Jesus is presented as our peace. But peace in Jesus is not measured by the absence of conflict or struggle in our lives or in the world around us. Peace is not just a serene feeling or even a pleasant condition.

Peace of mind is a state of love, and of conscious intimacy, existing between the soul and God. It does not consist merely in the soul's being reconciled to God, but also includes the fact that God is reconciled to man, and In this state of mind we are aware that God has accepted us, and forgiven us, that our peace is made with him. Peace is a state of total happiness of mind with God's will as expressed in creation and providence, his law and gospel. I say conformity with his will, for if in anything we are not content with God, we are restless, like a troubled sea. There cannot be peace between us and God as long as an iota of discontent with God's ways and will remains in the heart. Peace is a state of mind in which there is a conscious yielding of everything that God command, and yield, not merely of necessity, but willingly and cordially to all that He requires of us. This state of mind is like the calm, deep flow of a river. It is a calm, deep flow of feeling in conscious harmony with God's state of mind.

The mind controlled by the Holy Spirit, does not consist in external observances. But in righteousness - The image of God stamped on the heart; the love of God and man, accompanied with the peace that passes all understanding, and joy in the Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” (Galatians 5:22) We should walk in supernatural peace and joy because these are the fruit of the Spirit that was given to us at salvation Paul said in the next verse, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25)

Jesus said. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29). When you come to Him, you will find relief and relaxation in the freedom He gives. “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river,   your well-being like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18)- An active, sparkling peace that is refreshing and strong, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus “(Philippians 4:7). Will you come to Jesus, casting your burden upon Him? He says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Let not you heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”(John 14:27)

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