Sunday, December 11 2016 @ 06:00 AM CST
Contributed by: John
Radio transcript for the week of December 11, 2016
John Allan speaks on "Pursuing Peace" on Seeking the Lost - International Radio.
Christians should be in subjection to the governing authorities. The only exception to this is if the governing authorities are trying to compel Christians to violate God's law and will.
Christians acknowledge that God is in control. We must also strive to live in such a way that it reflects our ambition to act like the people God would have us to be. Part of that means we are interested in peace.
The word "peace" can be used in different ways. In this lesson we're thinking specifically of having peace in our personal life with the people around us.
As we think about pursuing peace, we'll observe that we should:
- Pursue Peace with Prayer
- Pursue Peace with Purpose
- Pursue Peace with Piety
Pursuing Peace with Prayer
In 1 Timothy 2:1-2 Paul emphasized prayer. That he said "first of all" shows the priority he placed on it.
Prayer is to be offered for "all men" and for governing authorities. This is what God wants. Paul also shows we should desire to live quiet, peaceable lives in all godliness and reverence.
Peace is something we want in life, and therefore it is something we should pray for. Yes, we pursue peace with prayer.
Pursuing Peace with Purpose
It's not enough to just say we want peace. We also need to deliberately work for it. That's what we mean by "pursing peace on purpose."
In Romans 12:18 Paul said that if it is possible - as much as depends on you - we are to live peaceably with all men.
The way he words it shows that peace isn't always possible. There are some people who will simply refuse to let you have peace with them.
But Scripture is clear that if this is ever the case, it must be that person's fault. Not mine. I need to do everything in my power to ensure that peace is possible. If they reject it, it must be their choice... not mine.
Since this instruction from Paul comes in the midst of a passage that talks about people mistreating Christians we recognize it applies even to people who mistreat us. Even though they might be evil toward us, we still do all we can to live peaceably with them.
That's what we want, and that's what we deliberately work toward.
Pursuing Peace with Piety
By "piety" I mean reverence or devotion to God. We pursue peace because of our commitment to God and our desire to do his will and be like him.
In Matthew 5:9 Jesus said that peacemakers will be called "sons of God".
Romans 8:14 shows that sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. For us today, we are led by the Spirit of God by learning from and following God's word. The Bible was given to us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and we follow it so the Holy Spirit can lead us in the way we should walk.
Galatians 3:26 explains that Christians are "sons of God" through faith. We have confidence in God and that prompts us to do what God says. Faith and works go together. James was correct when he wrote by inspiration that faith without works is dead.
As we consider Matthew 5:9 and the idea of being "sons of God" in this context the emphasis seems to be that peacemakers are imitating our Heavenly Father.
Matthew 5:43-48 is another place where this kind of emphasis is given. By doing good to people who are evil to us we follow God's example: God sends his rain on the just and the unjust - he does good to people who hate him. If we do likewise, we're acting like his children should. We're imitating him.
We get to choose what we'll work for in life. Do we want to promote chaos, conflict, and unrest? Or do we want to promote Christ-likeness, righteousness, and peace?
True peace is only found in Jesus. Our sins put us at odds with God. Without our sins being removed, we can't have peace with him. But Scripture shows us that sins can be forgiven and it tells us how it's done.
- Hear the Gospel (Romans 10:17)
- Believe the Gospel (Mark 16:16)
- Repent of your sins (Luke 13:3)
- Confess Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:16)
- Be Baptized for the Remission of Sins (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16)
- Walk in the light (1 John 1)
If we can help you obey the Gospel please contact us.