The Wisdom of Living Peacefully- Proverbs- Week 3- Day 3

(29) Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.  (30)  Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

Proverbs 3:29-30 

Explanation:

Verses 27 and 28, our text yesterday, refer to doing good and living generously with those around us.  We are to help where we can.  Verses 29 and 30 speak to not doing harm to our neighbors.  It is unwise to create strife between neighbors without cause.  Peace between people is to be protected.  There is value in harmony between people.  Jesus said this about peacemakers:

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Matthew 5:9 

The apostle Paul said in Romans:

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.  (18)  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  (19)  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 

Romans 12:17-19 

Application:

This does not mean that there is no time to defend yourself or your family.  Protecting the innocent is necessary.  There is such a thing as a just war.  Yet wisdom suggests that peace is valuable.  We should not do things to needlessly cause conflict.  What does this look like?

1.  Be quick to forgive.  Our neighbor will sin against us at some point.  We, as believers, have been forgiven by God.  We forgive because we have been forgiven.

2.  Show grace.  Similarly we have been given what we do not deserve.  We should be conduits of God’s grace to others as we have been the recipients of God’s grace.

3.  Be reasonable and gentle.  Being gentle does not mean that we are weak. It means that we know how to appropriately use our strength.  We are reasonable in our dealings with others.  We are able to see their point of view, and take their point of view into consideration when we deal with them. 

3.  Provide for ourselves through hard work.  When we are responsible for ourselves and our family we are less tempted to try to live off of others.  We are less tempted to defraud.  Ephesians says it this way:

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Ephesians 4:28 

Response:

Is there a behavior or attitude towards someone that needs to change in your life?  Repentance to God and to them is the wise response.

Romans- Week 14- Day 5- Romans 15:33

Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.   

Romans 15:33

Explanation:

After finishing his list of prayer requests, Paul ends what seems to be the teaching portion of this book with a prayer for them.  He prayed that the God of peace would be with all of them.  Of course this title of God would have been profound to the attentive reader of the letter, because they now saw God as the one who brought peace specifically by the blood of His Son.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  (10)  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  (11)  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.   

Romans 5:9-11

God had made the positionally at peace with Him because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We now can experience the presence of the God of peace, and this is exactly what Paul prayed for them.

Application:

In the midst of difficulty and trial, those who know Christ as Savior can experience God’s peace.  Philippians 4 tells us how to pursue peace:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  (7)  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.   

Phillipians 4:6-7

The Child of God can experience the peace of God through time spent in the presence of God.  We can strive for peace on our knees.

Response:

Are you in need of God’s peace today? 

If you don’t know Christ, admit your sin and call on Him as Savior to save you!

If you know Christ as Savior, strive for peace on your knees!

Romans: Week 5- Day 1- Romans 5:1

(1)  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 5:1

Explanation:

Paul has laid out the case until this point in the book of Romans that we can not be made right with God by doing good deeds.  The law is our teacher letting us know that we can not keep God’s law.  We all stand guilty before God.  He has also made the case that there is a justification that comes apart from the law.  We are justified, or made right with God, by faith in Christ and the grace of God.  A point that is well summarized in Ephesians 2:8-9.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Those who have been justified by faith now experience the grace that comes from that reality.  Paul begins to count them here. In verse 1 we have the first reality.  Now we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our sin makes us the enemies of God outside of Christ.  Again, Ephesians 2:1-3 describe well our state before we were saved.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Ephesians 2:1-3

Notice what is said about our position at then end of those three verses.  We “were by nature the children of wrath.”  Who’s wrath is he talking about?  He is referring to the wrath of God.  God, being Holy, must punish sin.  Because of Christ’s atoning death on the cross, we can believe in Christ.  When we do our position before God goes from wrath to peace.  Because we are justified by faith, we have peace with God instead of judgement.

Application:

The natural question that should come from this reality is this:  What is my position before God?  Am I a child of wrath, or do I have peace with God?

One may ask, “Doesn’t God love everyone?”  God does love everyone.  But God, being infinite, can be loving and holy at the same time.  In fact, this is seen on the cross.  God is so Holy that He pours out His wrath on His Son as He became Sin for us.  All sin is punished on the cross.  Yet, at the same time, He is so loving that He is doing this for us.  He loved us so much that He gave His Son to die for us. 

God does not let sin go.  He has made provision for our forgiveness.  We must accept Him as Savior.

Response:

3 Words should inform our response:

1. Trust- If you have not trusted Christ, do it now.

2. Obey- Since our Creator and Redeemer has given us everything, we should obey Him.

3. Worship- As we’ll see in the next verse, we now have access to God, and can worship Him properly.  This is our reasonable response to what He has done for us.

Devotion: Got to get some peace…

Devotion for Saturday, January 4, 2014

Philippians 4:1–7

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

  • Do you think he loved them? Count how many ways he expressed it in this verse. How many did you get? I counted five. Maybe there is more. He really loved them. This flavors the rest of the verses.

I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

1. Peace comes by resolving conflict.
Notice about these 2 ladies:
-They both had worked with Paul.
-The issue is not mentioned directly. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal.
-Both are “beseeched”. Maybe Paul was trying not pick sides.
-Both were christians. “whose names are in the book of life”.
-They really just needed to get along.
– They were forfeiting peace in their life and in the church.
– They needed the people that Paul was naming to come alongside and help create peace between them.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

2. Peace comes through worship.
– There is something about worship, celebration and thanksgiving that produces a right perspective in our lives.

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

3. Peace comes through gentleness.
Moderation can be known as sensibleness, or gentleness. People who are gentle..
– Can be dealt with.
– Don’t over do things.
– Don’t create drama.
– Don’t ignore drama, but deal with it reasonably.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

4. Peace comes through prayer.

Stop worrying and start praying. Stop rehashing your problems over and over again in your mind. Start telling God about what is going on. Start thanking God for past faithfulness.

What happens when we do this?

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

“Keep” can be translated “guard”. Don’t you want God’s peace guarding your heart (emotion) and mind (where the worry is really happening creating chaos and confusion)?

Application:
– If you have a problem with someone go make it right.
– Take a few moments to make a list of all the things God has done for you. Share it with someone. Celebrate what God has done for you.
– Stop thinking about your rights. Stop trying to get your way. Your giving up your peace.
– If you’ve got something on your mind that is bothering you your crazy not to take it to God in prayer. Let Him take care of it!