Saturday, 21 July 2012

Peace is built on the foundation of truth, justice and love



"Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble." JOB 14:1

The Book of Job presents an interesting case study. This book tells the story of a man called Job lived in a country called Uz. This man was good and honest. He loved God and refused to do evil deeds. He trusted God. But he had terrible troubles. Job loses his wealth, his family, his health, and the support of his wife. Besides that his friends show up and dump on him. Job calls them "miserable comforters." The devil caused Job’s troubles (Job 1:12; Job 2:6-7). But Job did not know this fact. So Job thought that God caused the problems (Job 19:1-12). In fact, God did not cause Job’s troubles. God merely permitted Job to suffer. Still, Job trusted God and refused to offend God (Job 2:9-10).Job’s friends tried to help him. But their advice was wrong. They did not think that God would allow an innocent person to suffer. So they thought that Job was guilty. They guessed that Job had done many wicked things (Job 22:4-11).Job argued with them. He explained that he was innocent (Job 31:1-40).

Job thought that God should help him. But Job was still suffering. So Job supposed that God was unfair (Job 23:13-17). But this idea was wrong. Nobody should blame God. God is always fair (Job 34:10-12).God was kind to Job, even when he was suffering. God taught him many things. He learned that death is not the end of everything (Job 19:25-27). Job discovered that God would rescue him (Job 14:13-17). And Job knew that God is wonderful (Job 26:5-14).Then Job was sorry that he said the wrong things about God. And Job’s friends were sorry too. They asked Job to pray for them. And God forgave them all (Job chapter 42).After Job prayed for his friends, God made Job successful again (Job 42:12-17).One of the profound truth we learn from this book is that our lives on earth are short. Job said that we are like flowers. Some flowers are very beautiful. But they may last only for a few hours. Or Job said that we are like shadows. A shadow has a clear shape. And it moves like a person. You could almost think that your shadow was alive. But your shadow disappears in a moment. So our lives may be beautiful, like the flowers. And they may be active, like shadows. But we shall soon be dead.

This book is a reminder that we are only “human.” We are mortals and are subject to death. Our life is like a flower, it is a shadow, the flower is fading, and all its beauty soon withers and is gone. The shadow is fleeting, and its very being will soon be lost and drowned in the shadows of the night. The shortness and uncertainty of human life too: Man is of few days. Life is here computed, not by months or years, but by days, for we cannot be sure of any day but that it may be our last. Man, as he is short-lived, so he is sad-lived. Though he had but a few days to spend here, yet, if he might rejoice in those few, it were well but it is not so. During these few days he is full of trouble, not only troubled, but full of trouble, toiling or fretting, grieving or fearing. No day passes without some vexation, some worry, some disorder or other. Three things we are here assured of :-(1.) That our life will come to an end; our days upon earth are not numberless, are not endless, no, they are numbered, and will soon be finished, Dan. 5:26. (2.) That it is determined, in the counsel and decree of God, how long we shall live and when we shall die. The number of our months is with God, at the disposal of his power, which cannot be controlled, and under the view of his omniscience, which cannot be deceived. It is certain that God's providence has the ordering of the period of our lives; our times are in his hand. The powers of nature depend upon him, and act under him. In him we live and move. (3.) That the bounds God has fixed we cannot pass; for his counsels are unalterable, his foresight being infallible.
What is the meaning of this word, ‘trouble?’ Webster defined it as, to agitate mentally and spiritually. The Hebrew word is roqez, ro’gher, which means commotions, disquiet, which means to take away the peace or tranquility of, anger, fear, noise, rage, and wrath.

Paul told Timothy, in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, that this would get worse. He wrote, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people."
Doesn’t most of this define trouble? Of course it does! People seem to be in total unrest each and every day of the year. People seemed to be dragged down by the world’s problems and day to day living. We have put ourselves in a position to have a great fall. We’ve decided, in ways, that God’s ways are wrong, so we will make our own way. This attitude is the key to failure.

Why don’t we experience it more consistently? One obvious reason is sin—choosing to act independently of God’s will. Every time we resist His instructions or convictions and go our own way, we are in conflict with Him. We cannot have tranquility when walking in opposition to the Lord. The conviction of the Holy Spirit will cause internal turmoil in our hearts.

Another reason for emotional commotion is a lack of faith. Remember the meaning of the word peace—“to bind together.” Sometimes we fail to connect what the Lord says is true of us with what we feel about ourselves. Then, feelings of inadequacy can overrule the truth of His Word, which says, “Our adequacy is from God”Such confidence we have through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant —not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”(2 Corinthians 3:4-6) Thoughts of worthlessness outweigh His promise of value and acceptance “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to son ship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:4-5), and fears overtake His guarantee to provide for all our needs “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:19).In the same way, when we look at the suffering and difficulty in our lives and perceive God as uncaring or unable to help, we’re relying on our own understanding instead of on the truth of Scripture. Anytime we begin to distrust and doubt God, our confident assurance will be shaken.


Peace of mind is the most sought after 'commodity' in human life. It appears that most of us are in a state of perpetual restlessness. On analyzing the causes of this restlessness, I have endeavored to discover God’s principles that need to be followed from the Bible if we are serious about achieving perfect peace. It is no secret that the world is always in constant turmoil. Violence is committed in the name of hunger, greed, fear, and political and religious ideology. Both within and without, chaos rules our psyche and the world. Is peace of mind possible in such a troubled world? The great search is on! Multitudes are seeking peace in fame and fortune, in pleasure and power, in education and knowledge, in human relationships and marriage. They desire to fill their heads with knowledge and their purses with wealth, but their souls remain empty. Others are seeking to escape the realities of life with drugs or alcohol, but the peace they seek eludes them. All their seeking only takes them in a vicious circle of frustrations and futility. They are still empty and lonely, still in a troubled world with a troubled mind and daily seekers of inner peace, joy and happiness.

God created man and placed him in a beautiful garden to enjoy perfect peace, joy and happiness. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed, they were at once stricken with guilt before they hid themselves with shame. Guilt and fear replaced the peace and happiness they knew. Here was the beginning of a troubled world- and a troubled mind. Like Adam and Eve, when you are out of tune with God, fears and anxieties crowd into your life. When you focus your attention on the uncertainties of life, on a changing, decaying world, your security and confidence are shaken. Your peace is disturbed. Sin has separated man from God. “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).” “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Guilt, fear, irritation, resentment, selfishness, and other hostile impulses plague man wherever he goes. They bring weariness and mental exhaustion. The love of self was at the root of the first disobedience of man. It continues to be the one of the first basic evil inclinations that takes you down the path of despair and heartache. The longer you travel the path of self-centeredness, the more troubled you become.


One of man’s greatest desires is to live in peace, or the absence of war and conflict. However, hostilities are the result of man’s sinful nature and will never be abolished on this sin-cursed earth. Bible says. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”(Jeremiah 17:9-10)

Although our soul longs for God, our sinful nature rebels at His ways. Part of us yearns for God and part of us reaches for fleshly desires. Our hearts are a battleground of continual conflict. This inner struggle causes tension and excessive strain. Without God we are “like troubled sea. “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, for it cannot rest, and its waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked” (Isaiah 57:20)

There can be no peace until all of life- mind, body, and spirit- are coordinated by the One who made us and understands us. He is not only master of the world but knows your life and mine from the beginning to the end. He was thinking of us when He came into the way of peace. “Because of the tender mercy of our God,by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven  to shine on those living in darkness   and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:79)

Many search among outward and tangible things, but neglect to look within. They are afraid of what they may discover. They would like to blame a troubled world for their troubled minds, but the cure must begin within their own hearts. Inner peace ultimately leads to external peace. By creating peace in our inner world, we bring it into the external world, affecting other people too. World history is the history of wars; wars of kingdoms against kingdoms and nations against nations. People live in constant conflict—almost as walking war machines. We live in conflict with God, with others, and with ourselves. "The way of peace they have not known," (Romans 3:17 ). Men don't understand what brings conflict and, therefore, what brings peace. We can see this at the individual level, within the family circle, in a church, in a company, in a state, in a nation, and among the nations of the world. It is always the same problem -- men do not know the way of peace

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. Of course, peace is not only the absence of strife; it is also the fullness of 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.

As the Prince of Peace, He invites you to come to Him. ““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)


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. As far as I’m concerned, that simple fact is sufficient proof that the Bible is God’s word. 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. According to Isaiah, He will be called:

Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God
Eternal Father
The Prince of Peace

Today we will 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 = well-being, happiness, 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. Do you 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 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 last time Jesus gave a formal talk, 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)

Peace is a person; origin and source of peace is Jesus Christ. 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 Jesus 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.

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

The word peace occurs eight times in the Book of Ephesians (1:2; 3:14; 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, and wholeness with God (Isaiah 53:5). 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).

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, 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 lightly. The crucifixion of Jesus is the outcome itself that gives forgiveness 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).


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.” (Ephesians 2:14-17)

In this very remarkable passage of Ephesians, the apostle gives us the way of peace. He uses as an illustration the fact that Jesus Christ bridged the widest chasm which ever has existed between men -- the gulf between the Jew and the Gentile. If you don't think that conflict can claim title to being the most difficult gulf to bridge, why it is it has been 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 or hostility, whether among individuals or groups or nations. 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 apostle's outline of how Christ makes peace, the way he goes about it. So it is very important that we note these. He is our peace -- that is the origin of peace. Then there is the process of peace, how it is actually brought about -- he came and made peace. Finally there is the means of laying hold or possessing that peace -- he preached peace.

If you are having a conflict with anybody -- whether it is in your home, at your work, in your neighborhood, in the church, or in the world, this is the way of peace. This is the secret of peace. This is the key to peace. First, the origin of peace: "He is our peace, who has made us both one." 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. This is very important to know. Otherwise, when you talk about peace, you are only being superficial. Is it peace when you get two armies to lay down their weapons and stop fighting each other? Well, we call it that. And certainly it is to be preferred over armed conflict. But it is not really peace -- not according to God's definition. Is it peace when a husband and wife agree not to get a divorce but to stay together, perhaps for the sake of the children, but that home continues in coldness and divisiveness, with no harmony or joy? Well, it may be peace according to man's definition, but it isn't according to God's. Is it peace when two friends who haven't spoken to each other for some time finally decide to agree to disagree, to speak civilly to each other, but they don't seek each other's company anymore? Not according to God's definition. Peace is oneness, harmony. It is sharing mutual enjoyment. It is being one. Anything else is superficial and temporary and highly unsatisfactory. You know this to be true, don't you? You have made peace on superficial terms, and have found it only external. If you merely agree not to fight, it is not peace. And invariably it results, sooner or later, in a new outbreak, with all the previous animosity surging to the surface once again. It is only temporary, and never very satisfying. This is why what we call peace among nations never lasts -- because it isn't really peace. It isn't oneness at all. It is only a weariness with warfare, and agreement to stop it for awhile until we can all recuperate and rearm. Then it breaks out all over again, because nothing is ever settled. God isn't interested in that.

But here the apostle tells us the secret of peace. 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. What Paul is saying is that in order to live at peace, we must have peace. The problem with us is that we want to start by clearing up only the results of conflict. God never starts there; he starts with the person. He says peace is a 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 origin of peace, is the settling of any problems between you and Jesus Christ. That is always the place to start.
Many people are upset, troubled, discouraged, and angry. They blame others at great length all the terrible things the others has done, and all the reasons why they are justified in being so angry, and feeling so mistreated. But their basic problem is that they don't have any peace themselves. They are not at peace. They are upset, angry, and emotionally distraught. And everything they do and think is colored by that emotional state. They can't see anything straight, they don't see things in balance, their perspective is distorted, and everything is out of focus. And it is impossible to solve the problem -- until they themselves acquire peace. And once their attitude is changed, once their heart is settled, once they have put the matter into the hands of the Lord, and they see that he is active in it, that he has a solution, and their own heart is therefore at peace, then they can begin to understand what is happening and can apply some intelligent remedies to the situation which will work out the problem. There is profound psychological insight in the fact that the apostle begins with the declaration that Christ is our peace. He alone can accomplish it -- making us one. Now look at the process 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, [the hostility must end first] 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 -- he had been there many times. And he remembered the wall, about 3' or 4' high, 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. There was a sign which warned anyone who wasn't a Jew that if they dared to venture into this inner court, they did so on pain of death. In fact, 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. Actually it was not destroyed until A.D. 70, several years after this letter was written, when the temple itself was destroyed. But Paul says the hostility it represented was demolished in Jesus Christ. At best, the Jews treated the Gentiles with aloofness; at worst, they despised and hated them. There was enormous hostility between these two peoples. There are walls like that among us. There are walls in homes like that. There is hostility and hatred and defiance and suspicion and distrust between husbands and wives, between communities and Nation, and between neighbors and religions. These walls of hostility arise. They are what most of us run up against. We feel the hostility, the anger, the deep-seated resentment and bitterness and we say, "It's no use; there's nothing we can do." But the apostle says that Jesus Christ knows how to remove these walls. How? Well, 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.

We are dealing here with a very profound psychological insight. 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. 10 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. I've thought that perhaps he wrote what the finger of God wrote on the wall of the palace in Babylon, when Belshazzar had his feast: "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin (You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting)," (Daniel 5:25). 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. He'd taken the judges and the judged, had put them into the same bag and shaken them up together, as a woman would with pieces of meat before cooking, and they had come out covered with the flour of the same guilt. When he did this, there was no accusation left.
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. I've seen this work with parents and children. As long as parents insist they never make mistakes, never do anything wrong, never need to apologize, never say "I'm sorry" to their children, those children invariably grow up resenting and hating their parents. Because self-righteousness always creates hostility. It is only when parents see themselves as able to be wrong, needing forgiveness themselves, needing to be understood and set free by the forgiveness of their children, as well as granting forgiveness to them, that there can be harmony.
Then what? Is that all? Is God content merely with ending hostility? Never. There is a second step: "that he might create in himself one new man." Notice the word create. That is what only God can do. Man cannot create. We say of somebody, "He's creative." What do we mean? We mean he is able to take things which are already there and put them together in a new way, thus bringing about something perhaps somewhat different. He's rearranged the material, and we call that creativity, but, in the ultimate sense of the word, only God is creative. Men may be ingenious, but they're not creative. 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.

Many people have experienced this. People often say , "You know, since I stopped trying to judge my husband (or my wife), and we've come together acknowledging that we both need God, both need forgiveness, I've discovered that we have a whole new relationship I never dreamed was possible. It is better than anything we had before. Something new has begun, a greater unity than ever has developed." Sometimes people say, "Our marriage is dead. Our love is gone. There's no way we can restore it. We might as well end the marriage." It is such a joy then to be able to point out to them that in Christ a new relationship comes into being, something which never was there before. And many have laid hold of this and found it indeed to be true that in the new unity, the new man which grows out of the relationship brought to Christ, there is a freedom and a glory and a beauty and a richness which was never there before, and it is better than it ever was.

Here in Ephesians, of course, the new man Paul refers to is the church itself. The church is a picture of what Jesus Christ does. 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 a oneness, a fellowship, a union, a beautiful relationship which ultimately has nothing to do with cultural heritage. There is a sense of belonging to one another, and a joy in that relationship. The same is true of the poor and the rich. The poor don't have to live like the rich; the rich don't have to live like the poor. There can be different standards of living within the church, but there is a oneness and a joy and an acceptance of one another. The same is true between male and female. Males don't have to be female; females don't have to act like males, Women's Lib notwithstanding. In the church there is oneness. 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. A man or a woman, parents or children, husband or wife -- wherever the conflict may have been -- 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."

 We are to see each other as no different whatsoever, before God. If in one area of our life we think we don't need to be forgiven -- in that area we are utterly unacceptable to God. If there is an area where we think we have never done wrong, in that area we are totally unacceptable to God. 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 -- the means of possessing peace. How do you do this? How do you actually lay hold of it? Well, the apostle says,

“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)
Two steps are necessary actually to lay hold of this kind of peace: The first believes the message God has given you. "He came and preached peace," says Paul to these Ephesians. That is, "Jesus preached to you." How did he do it? He didn't come in person; he came in the person of Paul. Paul was sent by the Lord. That is what the word "apostle" means. Paul says in Second Corinthians, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20). Paul's preaching was Jesus' preaching of peace. Christ seized the initiative and sent the apostle to proclaim the fact which God has already brought into being. All that remains is to believe it. When you believe that the ground of self-righteousness has been removed, that you have no more standing before God, because of what you think has been proper behavior, than somebody who has failed openly and blatantly, then you have begun to believe what God has said. You have begun to believe the preaching of peace. Preaching is never an argument, never a debate or dialogue. 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. And this 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 ).
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 sleep this evening I wish that you would open your Bibles. I would like you to 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."

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.


“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. . . . Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:1–3, 27)

Instead of seeing yourself as the center of existence, you need to turn to God and make Him your central purpose in your life. Without God as your center, you fall easy prey to petty worries, self-pity, fears, and anxiety. With God in the center, every area of your life will reach out from the “hub” like spokes in a wheel and make your life complete and worth living. 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.

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."

The single most valuable Prayer you can pray from the depth of your heart to God is:  “Dear Jesus, I acknowledge that, I am a sinner and confess my sins I believe that you are the Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace and you Died for my Sins, Rose from the Dead and Will Come Again.  Please forgive my sins.  Jesus, come into my heart and be the Lord of my life. I accept you as my Personal Savior and Lord.” Amen. God bless you