Sunday, October 22, 2017

Peace


This is my life group lesson for the week. 

Recently I’ve had some physical problems that required physical therapy.  So I’m becoming more aware of my body.  So relaxing.

Relaxing, though, is not the same as peace.  Sometimes we confuse them.  Relaxing is a psychological and physical response.  I usually go to sleep if I relax.

Peace is the subject today.

We are going to do something that I hope you don’t find silly. We are going to draw.  Drawing without judgment can be relaxing, and relaxing and knowing there is no judgment can help creativity.  (I have decided to self-publish all the books I can whether anyone reads them or not; I want to get them out of my head).  I want you to draw (and it could be abstract)  peace.  It may just be color.  I can’t draw at all, so this is not an assignment.  It’s a way to bring out feelings and thoughts about peace. 
Main idea: Peace is one of the main reasons Jesus came and a foundational component of the Christian experience and doctrine. The Bible says many things about peace and one way it does so is through contrasts and comparisons to help us understand it. Bible Gateway lists 397 verses with the word peace in it.  Not everything Jesus says about peace hits us as positive, but they are true.  Sometimes they seem contradictory, but they are not in context.

 I. Internal peace and external peace.  In Jesus’ day for the Jews, peace was not just an internal state. 
From Bible Study Tools website.  The Meaning of Peace. In English, the word "peace" conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife. The biblical concept of peace is larger than that and rests heavily on the Hebrew root slm, which means "to be complete" or "to be sound." The verb conveys both a dynamic and a static meaning" to be complete or whole" or "to live well." The noun had many nuances, but can be grouped into four categories: (1) salom [l'v] as wholeness of life or body (i.e., health); (2) salom [l'v] as right relationship or harmony between two parties or people, often established by a covenant (see "covenant of peace" in Num 25:12-13 ; Isa 54:10 ; Ezek 34:25-26 ) and, when related to Yahweh, the covenant was renewed or maintained with a "peace offering"; (3) salom [l'v] as prosperity, success, or fulfillment (see Lev 26:3-9 ); and (4) salom [l'v] as victory over one's enemies or absence of war. Salom [l'v] was used in both greetings and farewells. It was meant to act as a blessing on the one to whom it was spoken: "May your life be filled with health, prosperity, and victory." As an adjective, it expressed completeness and safety. In the New Testament, the Greek word eirene [eijrhvnh] is the word most often translated by the word "peace." Although there is some overlap in their meanings, the Hebrew word salom [l'v] is broader in its usage, and, in fact, has greatly influenced the New Testament's use of eirene [eijrhvnh].Jesus said a lot about peace.

II.  The cross of Christ is the instrument of peace  but also a cause for strife.
Roman 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Colossians 1:20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Ephesians 2:14-15 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,

However, Jesus realistically brings conflict with others who do not follow him.
Matthew 10:34“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

In II Corinthians Paul says that we are a smell, aroma of life to those who believe the message but stench of death to those who don’t. 

Jesus is the authority over and bringer of peace, even over nature.
Mark 4:39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
J9 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled,[b] for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

III.  The Bible contrasts the real peace and the counterfeit peace of the world.
Two occasions Jesus contrasts the peace of the world. What kind of peace does the world give?

John 14:27 -28  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said,[a] ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.

John 16:33  These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Pax Romana – Roman Peace.  The Roman Empire from 27 B.C-180 A.D.  This was when Jesus lived.  Because they had conquered so many peoples and were not engaging in many wars at the time (but still were, esp. against Jews) their political leaders called it the Roman Peace.  But what kind of peace was it?  Military force by pagan nations.  Many things the Romans did were important to history (law and administration, mainly) but they were not moral or kind leaders.

From Wikipedia:  Augustus faced a problem making peace an acceptable mode of life for the Romans, who had been at war with one power or another continuously for 200 years.[10] Romans regarded peace not as an absence of war, but the rare situation which existed when all opponents had been beaten down and lost the ability to resist.[6] Augustus' challenge was to persuade Romans that the prosperity they could achieve in the absence of warfare was better for the Empire than the potential wealth and honor acquired when fighting a risky war. Augustus succeeded by means of skillful propaganda. Subsequent emperors followed his lead, sometimes producing lavish ceremonies to close the Gates of Janus, issuing coins with Pax on the reverse, and patronizing literature extolling the benefits of the Pax Romana.

I am not sure, but I think that this may have been part of what Jesus meant when he said “not as the world gives you.” What kind of peace does the world promise today, if any?

IV.  The peace of spiritual life now is a goal and condition of the fulfilled Christian experience and forecasts the eternal peace of the kingdom later.  The promise of his coming is the source of peace.  

 Multiple verses place peace in the center of our obedience.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
Romans 8:6  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus
Mark 9:50 Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

Bringing peace to relationships and situations is a goal. Matthew 5:39 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

V. If we have this peace, we should tell others.
J9 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled,[b] for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
I don’t think “Peace to you” is just a normal greeting here like “Hey there!”  I think it is the basis of everything.  One, they were probably terrified. He says it twice, after appearing and then after proving he was in a physical body. The nature of his physical body is a study in itself, but while physical it transcends certain rules of time and space. 
Jesus tells his disciples to preach the gospel after his death and resurrection several times. 
Romans 10:15
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
The basis of the gospel and our reason for telling it is that the cross brought peace.  Our lives should show the peace.

Conclusion:  Am I living in peace-less-ness? Yes.  Worry, anxiety, envy anger gossip. Tenseness of muscles. Thes are the opposite of peace.
From looking at these verses I can see how central to the Biblical world view “peace” is.  It is to be a goal in our personal spiritual lives. It is one of the bases of the gospel, one of the purposes of the cross. 
I am angry with a new boss.  I have not been living in peace with this person, at least not internally.  I have sinned in not living with a peaceable spirit and cannot get that back, only apologize and repent. 

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