Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, February 28th. Life will never be trouble-free, but believers in Jesus can know unshakable stability. Today's podcast explores the question, Is peace possible in bad times? Is peace possible in bad times? Or is that just a figment of our imagination?
Is that just something the Bible talks about without explaining how to have it? Is it possible to have peace in bad times? My friend, it is possible to have overwhelming, indescribable peace in bad times. And that is the title of this message. Is peace possible in bad times?
And the answer is yes. And I want you to turn, if you will, to John Chapter 16. In one of the most trying times of the life of our Lord, and of course in the life of His disciples, He gives us the answer to that question, and He tells us how to have peace in the most difficult of circumstances of life.
Now look at verse thirty-three. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world. Is it possible to have peace in times of great trouble and tribulation and trial and heartache and rejection and the kind of pressures and the tensions and the distresses that you and I experience in life? Now let me say, first of all, God has willed your peace and mine. Well, somebody says, Well, wait a minute now. Is this peace available to everybody?
Yes and no. It is available to everybody on the one hand, but those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ will never experience the kind of peace we're talking about. This is the reason there is no peace for the wicked.
Verse seventeen of Romans three, he's describing here the same kind of people, those who are unrighteous, they don't understand God, don't seek God, turned away from God, not interested in God. He says in verse seventeen, And the path of peace they have not known. You know why the unbeliever cannot have peace? Because they don't know the way to peace. And if somebody explains it to them and they reject it, then of course there's not going to be any peace. Now He has made possible for us the wonderful, wonderful gift of peace, but not to everybody, but to those who are willing to trust Him, those who are willing to believe Him. He's willing to make it possible, but for the man who's unsaved, there's not going to be any. Now I want you to write these three words down because it all gets wrapped up in these three words.
What are the steps to real peace? It doesn't make any difference what your circumstances are. You say, yeah, but you don't know the kind of circumstances I'm in. You know what?
I don't have to know, but I do know this. I do know that not only have I lived in difficult trying circumstances in life at times, not only have I been in the most tumultuous, trying, indescribable, horrendous kind of test, and I know a lot of other people who have and sometimes lived in it forty-some years with nothing changing. And yet that person with a quietest sense of peace and contentment and joy and good health, no bitterness, no anger, no resentment, no hostility when being mistreated to the degree that most of us would have said, no way do I have to put up with this. Yes, you can have peace. Now listen, remember that what I'm going to say, this is the foundation of it all, is that you and I have a vital union with Christ.
Three words. If I'm going to have the peace that passes all human understanding and make it possible for me to sense contentment and rest no matter what's going on, first of all, the first word is faith. I must trust Him for the forgiveness of my sins. I must settle my eternal security once and for all.
If that's not settled, there's no way to have peace. How can you have peace not knowing that at any moment when you die, you may be lost forever? First of all, faith.
Secondly, focus. I want you to turn, if you will, to Isaiah 26. He says in verse 3, Isaiah 26, the steadfast of mind. That means those who have fixed their minds firmly, unchanging, fixed at a point, steady. The steadfast of mind, thou will keep in perfect peace because he trusted in thee. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord we have an everlasting rock.
Now, here's what I want you to see. What is it that usually causes us to lose our peace? Well, what happens? When something comes along that's troubling, we begin to focus on it. And the longer we focus on it, the more intense it becomes until finally it has absolutely paralyzed us.
And we're gripped by it and we think about it and we pray about it and we weep over it and we hate it or we resent it or we have hostility toward it. He says, thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on thee. You see, we're to wake up in the morning with our heart and our mind fixed upon Christ. He says, you and I are living in vital union with him and if I'm living in vital union with him, then everything in my life, listen, I don't revolve around anything.
Everything in my life revolves around this union with him. And when I have trusted him for my salvation and I have fixed my focus upon him, understanding who he is and relating to him and responding to life on the basis of who he is, my focus is extremely important. You know, when you focus on Christ, you can't be focused on something else. You can think about something else and you can deal with those other things, but if your focus is on Christ, you aren't caught up and trapped and paralyzed by the circumstances of life no matter how difficult they are. And I'm sure that some of you have been through some difficult times that I would know nothing in this world about.
But I've had enough to know that when you set your focus on the person of Jesus Christ, it doesn't make any difference how deep, dark and stormy life is. It is amazing how there's this inner quietness and restfulness and peace that you cannot explain. When Paul said, peace that surpasses all human understanding, that isn't some figment of the imagination.
That is exactly literally true. You cannot understand it. We can explain it in theological terms, but you cannot really understand that. He said, in me, you may have peace.
How is that? He says, first of all, by trusting him, faith in him, secondly, our focus, and third, following. If you'll just jot those three words down, faith, focus and following.
What do I mean by following? Well, if you'll turn to the 119th Psalm and the 165th verse, he makes a statement in this passage that I believe is the key to this. Faith in him, focusing upon him and following after him. 119th Psalm, 165th verse. He says, those who love thy law have what? Great peace, not just peace. Those who love thy law have great peace and nothing causes them to stumble.
And what does he mean by that? When he says those who love my law, you remember in this very section, 14, 15, 16 chapters of John, Jesus said, if you love me, you will do what? Keep my commandments. You will obey me.
You will follow me. Now listen, if I want his peace, I must trust him as my savior, have faith in him for my salvation. I must set my focus upon him instead of what's going on around me. And thirdly, I must follow him. What do I mean by that? Obey him.
I was afraid he was going to get around to that. Obey him. You cannot live in disobedience to God and have peace.
He says because disobedience, he says causes us on the inside to be like tumultuous waves breaking upon the shore, lashing upon the rocks. There is no rest. There is no peace. There is no quietness.
They're blown this way with the wind and blown that way with the wind. Haven't you felt that sometime inside of you? He says there can be none as long as there's disobedience, willful known disobedience toward God. So he says you know what the key to faith is? First of all, he's provided in the person of Christ at Calvary, in his indwelling presence in your life and mine, and in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to live through us the life of Christ. He says now three steps, faith, focus, and follow him. You say that's too simple.
Let me ask a question. Why would God want to make it complex? Why would he want to make it complex? Let me tell you why it's simple and why we think it's complex because I'm trying to find some way rather than deal with the issue, I'm trying to find some way to go around it.
That's what makes it complex. I'm trying to outmaneuver God. You say now I wouldn't try to outmaneuver God. That is exactly what you do. You try to outmaneuver God. Well now God I know this isn't exactly what you want in my life but somehow Lord I just want to thank you in Jesus' name and I want to praise you and God somehow I'm going to outmaneuver what you said and somehow I'm going to be able to make it.
One last thing. What causes those of us who believe us to lose our peace? Now you think about it for a moment. What causes you to lose your peace? Sometimes you're contented. Your life's peaceful. I don't mean everything's going your way. That has nothing to do with it.
But you have peace and contentment and quietness and restfulness on the inside and can you tell me anything in the world more satisfying than to lie down in bed at night and sense the undisturbed approval and presence of Jesus Christ in your heart. No war. No quarreling.
Nothing between you and Him. Friend, you can't buy it. You can't barter it. You can't manipulate it.
You can't outmaneuver God in any fashion to get it. What causes us to lose our peace? Three things.
Get them down and then get them out. Number one, sin. Sin will cause you to lose your peace.
Now I want you to watch this. Over here on this side is something in your life that you know has no business being there. It's a habit, a relationship, an attitude, a possession, a desire or some action in your life. You know it has no business there. And when you get real honest with God, He keeps bringing it up.
You know what that is? That's a point of quarrel with God. Sin on this side, peace on this side. And if you forget everything else, don't forget this. In order to have peace with God, you can't have both of these at the same time.
There is no way. If there is sin, there's not going to be any peace. You either have peace or sin, but you can't have peace and sin in the same heart. I don't know about you, but I never have seen anything in life worth giving that up for.
The peace that passes all human understanding. I'll tell you something about myself I discovered. I can't stand that kind of pressure. Deliberately, willfully disobeying God.
I can't handle that. You know a lot of folks are going to die young? Now some people are going to die young because God says that's how much time I've given you.
A lot of people hurried along. Disobedience, rebellion, resentment, hostility, anger, not going to give it up. If you knew the way I've been treated, I'm telling you right now that I'm not giving it up because that's the way I've been treated.
And if they don't do so and so, you know what you're doing? First of all, you've eliminated your own peace and you know what you're doing? You're killing yourself by degrees physically and emotionally.
It's not worth it. How do we lose our peace? Number two, listen, first of all we said number one, sin. Secondly, by projecting tomorrow's cares into today, I stand condemned. And I found myself so often thinking about what I have to do tomorrow and the next week and the next week and the next week and the next month.
And what I do is I find myself bringing those things into today. The Sermon on the Mount says in Matthew 6, don't be anxious about what you're going to wear, what you're going to eat, where you're going to live. He says, your heavenly Father knows you have need of all those things. But He says, but seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. All these things shall be added to you. That is, you set your focus on Him.
He's going to take care of that. Don't bring tomorrow into today. And I have to tell you that is a battle I wrestle with. And I'm here to tell you, 99% of the times I lose my peace, that's the reason that I get to bringing tomorrow into today. So I found this little quote.
And I, this is one of those that I have hanging across my desk. And it goes like this, no man ever sank beneath the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow's burdens are added to the burdens of today, that the weight is more than we can bear.
Now you and I know that don't we? It's when tomorrow's burdens are brought into the burden of today and added to it, that's when we break. And so I'd ask myself the question, why do I do that?
Why do I project tomorrow's burdens onto today? One of Satan's ways of very subtly stealing my peace. But you know, as quick as I get on my face before God and say, Lord, I lay it before You. I thank You for Your forgiveness, Your patience. I lay it all down.
It is amazing what happens. If you recall in Matthew chapter six what he said, he said, don't worry about tomorrow. Sufficient unto today.
He says, what about the lilies of the field? They're not worried about tomorrow. How many sparrows have you ever seen on the tree just drop off and fall dead, worried about being fed tomorrow? Not a single one.
They have no security, no insurance policy, nothing. You've never seen a squirrel running around in circles having an anxiety attack over, over being sure they're going to have enough nuts for the winter. Amen. Amen.
Birds and squirrels are far more peaceful than we are. You know why? They just live day at a time. Now listen to what he said.
The judge shall live by what? What he's saying, James, boast not of tomorrow. You can't handle tomorrow.
Don't, don't project it. And then the last reason we said, first of all, sin, secondly, projecting tomorrow's cares, number three, doubting God. We just doubt His promises. When you start doubting God's promises, you lose your faith.
You lose your, your sense of peace. And how many of you said, you know, I was facing this financial situation, didn't know what in the world I was going to do, and I was just crying out to God, oh God, oh God, I'm just trusting you. Listen, when I'm saying, oh God, I'm trusting you.
No, no. What I'm really doing is having a fit is what I'm doing. Because if I'm trusting Him, I'm thanking Him. Thank you, Jesus, for what you're going to do.
Can't figure it out. I'm just going to trust you that you're going to handle it some way. That's the peace that passes all human understanding. Faith, focus and following Him, and what happens? Somehow I'll have a peace.
I can't explain, but I'll be able to enjoy as long as I keep my focus and my life clean and walking in obedience to Him. It doesn't matter who you are and where you are, because here's one thing you probably have said. You've thought, now wait a minute, now what, you forgot one thing.
What's that? You have forgotten how to deal with that situation about how people out there treat you. You know why I haven't mentioned that? Because that hasn't anything to do with it. Now listen, nobody can take your peace unless you choose to give it up.
They can't steal it. Because you see, my peace has nothing to do with that, them, they, those. It has to do with my vital union with Him, my clean, obedient heart, and my focus on Him.
And it's yours for the asking. Thank you for listening to part two of Is Peace Possible in Bad Times? If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-28 07:05:52 / 2023-02-28 07:12:56 / 7