1 PET 3:10,11
INTRO: I have been thinking during the past few weeks of something I am hearing more and more people say. "I just want some peace!" When I hear that, I believe I am hearing it from a person in whose life there is some sort of turmoil. But as I think further of this, I realize that there are those days when I, too, would like to have peace. Very likely those days come to all of us. But the peace we seek may not be as easily found as the turmoil which finds us. Then, we recall that Jesus promised us "peace". But the turmoil continues, and we do not have peace from it. So, we may wonder about our faith ... and about His promise.
I. JESUS DID NOT PROMISE FREEDOM FROM DIFFICULTY, TRIAL
A. Remember that Jesus had his own difficulties, trials, conflicts
1. from almost the outset of His ministry there was opposition
2. quickly, there arose among religious leaders desire to discredit, dispose
3. then, there were all of those crowds of people "intruding" into His life
4. where was His peace?
B. A "promise" passage...
1. Jno 14:27
2. a key expression here is "not as the world giveth"
3. it seems obvious, then, that the "peace" which He promised is not the sort of peace for which so many people are wishing, seeking
4. yet, the promise is of peace which keeps hearts from being troubled
C. So, turmoil, trouble, disappointment, busyness are all part of real life
1.these are things with which we must cope throughout life
2. I particularly enjoy the promise of Rev 14:13
3. but between now and then, I know that "peace" as the world thinks of it is just not really something which I can expect
4. but there are some "coping tools" which can result in the peace Jesus promised
II. WHAT ARE THESE "COPING TOOLS"?
A. If sin is the problem, there is forgiveness
1. I have no doubt that sin and its effects rob people of peace
2. do they always acknowledge that sin is the root problem? no
3. but when/if they do come to understand this, forgiveness is available
4. Acts 22:16 - Acts 8:22 - physical effects may remain ... but the guilt and its eternal consequences are gone! peace different from the world's!
B. A second "coping tool" is the focus of ones mind
1. Isa 26:3 - "...whose mind is stayed on thee..."
2. anxiety is the result of a mind drawn in different directions - no peace
3. when we look away from God, we open the door for confusion, trouble
4. the problem here is keeping our focus in a world of distractions
C. A third "coping tool" is prayer
1. Phil 4:6,7 - "And the peace of God...shall keep your hearts...."
2. clearly, the peace of God is associated with prayer
3. all of us may have questions about prayer ... but none of us should question the efficacy of prayer (Jas 5:16-18)
4. one effect of prayer to keep our minds stayed on God
D. A fourth "coping tool" is meditation on the word of God
1. Rom 14:4 - "...patience and comfort of the scriptures..."
2. let me remind of Jas 1:21 and Col 3:16 - nothing superficial will do
3. few things (if any) have the effect of bringing peace into a troubled situation more than the careful reading of and meditation on the scriptures
4. the situation perhaps does not change ... but the way we see it can and will as we seek the patience and comfort of the scriptures (Jas 1:3,4)
E. A fifth "coping tool" may be our doing what we can to resolve the turmoil
1. is there someone we need to forgive? is there someone whose forgiveness we need to seek? is there a hurt we need to overlook? is there a behavior change we need to make in ourselves?
2. yes, there are those troubles over which we have no control
3. but are there those difficulties which result from our own words, choices, etc. which can be resolved with appropriate action of our own?
4. 1 Pet 3:10,11 - the peace we seek does in some respects depend on us
CLOSE: These "coping tools" are easy to list. But they can be of no use to us until they become the habits of our daily lives. I commend these things to you. I believe in them. Yet, there are times when days are full of confusion and question that I must remind myself of them ... and return to them with renewed vigor.
Cecil A. Hutson
10 December 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)