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When Peace Gets Personal - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
November 17, 2023 5:00 am

When Peace Gets Personal - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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November 17, 2023 5:00 am

Pastor Skip looks at what real peace means and examines what happens when peace touches you on a personal level.

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Skip Heitzig

I've discovered that most people define peace as the absence of something. They say, whoa, whoa, what is peace to you?

They say, no war. It's the absence of war. It's the absence of strife. It's the absence of conflict. Listen, you can have the absence of war and strife and conflict in a cemetery. And that's not the best role model of peace, is it?

So it's not the absence of something, it's the presence of something. God's definition isn't the absence of conflict. God's definition of peace is the presence of God himself.

How do you define peace? Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Pastor Skip looks at what real peace means and examines what happens when peace touches you on a personal level. But first, here's a resource that'll help develop a foundation of faith in the children in your life. Attention moms, dads, and anyone who's looking to help children understand the message of the Bible. This month, we're offering the book Soaring Through the Bible for Kids.

God's Word can be a challenge to read and understand, even for adults. And this kid-friendly version of Pastor Skip Heitzig's popular book, The Bible from 30,000 Feet, gives young children and tweens a panoramic overview of all 66 books of the Bible, helping them see the context and significance of each. Soaring Through the Bible is a travel guide from Genesis through Revelation for Kids. Each chapter provides a flight plan for exploring a portion of the Bible, along with a brief synopsis that shows what the chapters are about and language kids can understand. Creatively designed, with kids in mind, Soaring Through the Bible also features fun illustrations and fascinating facts to keep young minds and hearts engaged and interested. Soaring Through the Bible for Kids will prepare a child for takeoff on a lifelong journey of learning and loving God's Word. We will send you a copy of this unique book along with a booklet for you by Skip titled Why Truth Matters. Simply make a donation to support and expand this radio program with a gift of $50 or more.

Call 1-800-922-1888 or order online at connectwithskip.com. Okay, now let's turn to Isaiah 26 as we tune in to Skip's lesson today. So this is a painting, let's just keep that up. This is a painting called The Scream. It is by an artist named Edvard Munch and he painted this picture. They say it is as recognizable, second only to the Mona Lisa in what people would recognize as a famous painting.

In fact, this is now an emoji. So that's how famous it is. It sold for in 2012 at Sotheby's, it sold for $120 million.

I know you're looking at the going, my kid could do that. So that sold for $120 million and I was able to see this picture myself when I was in Oslo. Here's proof that I was there. It's me standing in front of the picture, trying to make the same face. This picture has been called a timeless portrait of anxiety or a timeless depiction of anxiety. A lot of people look at the picture and it sort of creeps them out. Edvard Munch, the artist, was believed to be a very tormented soul, somebody who lacked peace, lacked peace in his heart.

Some even believed he was not of sound mind. And there's a message at the top of that picture, The Scream, a little inscription that is written in the top left hand corner that says this, can only have been painted by a madman. Can only have been painted by a madman. And for years, people argued, who put that there? Nobody really knew who wrote that there. Somebody thought it was a vandal. A viewer came and put an inscription. But experts have since come to the conclusion that it was the artist himself who put the inscription, at the top of his own painting, can only have been painted by a madman. Now, I believe one of the reasons that that picture is so famous and would sell for 120 million dollars is because it's sort of this creepy mirror for a lot of people. It's like, yeah, I feel that lack of peace, that presence of anxiety, that it represents what a lot of people are feeling. You see, I think if it was a happy face, it would look something like this. I don't think that would sell for 120 million bucks, do you?

That is something your kid could do. But I rather you would look like this rather than like the screen. And so with that sort of as a background, because here's this depiction of lack of peace and presence of anxiety, I want you to look at a verse of scripture in Isaiah 26 that it's a verse of scripture. This is the first time I've ever preached on just this verse.

And so I'm glad to have had a time this week to really study through it. But I'm calling this message, When Peace Gets Personal. I want to talk to you about personal peace. All in favor of personal peace?

Yeah, I am too. So Isaiah 26 verse 3, it says, here's the promise, you will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. And so I'm going to say, because he trusts in you. I remember the first time I saw that verse, I was a Christian, maybe for two weeks, I was in a Bible bookstore buying a Bible. And I saw that verse on a plaque, you will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed in you. And I thought, that's a great saying. I didn't know it was a scripture. It's a great saying. And I've discovered that it is a verse of scripture. It is a verse that I call to my mind several times, often every night when I'm going to sleep, especially if I wake up in the middle of the night and I'm wrestling with thoughts, I will just meditate on this verse.

It's such a beautiful promise. Well, we're in a series called Give Peace a Chance. And we decided we would do it because of the difficult season that we have experienced in our country and in humanity. I think you would agree that our world is anything but peaceful. After a worldwide pandemic, after contentious election cycle, after government enforced lockdowns, after job loss and business closure, we just felt like we needed to breathe in God's peace, take a few weeks and just see what the Bible has to say about peace. Because we don't have peace internationally. We don't have peace nationally. We don't have peace economically. We don't have peace politically. We don't have peace in nations. We don't have peace in cities. We don't have peace in states. We don't have peace and communities. We don't have peace in homes. We don't have peace in hearts. But you can. You can have peace in your heart. And if you do, you will be the exception, not the rule. Because the rule is this.

The exception is this, right? Having peace in your heart. Well, I discovered that the Bible mentions peace about 400 times, which gives me an indication that's pretty high on God's agenda, that he wants to confer on his people peace.

He wants us to have it. So we want to look at personal peace, because this section, like any section of Scripture, has its own context, its own background, and that has to be considered. But in the midst of that, and we will consider it in a minute, but there is a promise, the one that we just read, that transcends all culture, all time frames, all languages. It's a promise of God's peace to individuals for peace personally, inner peace, the feeling of tranquility.

That's what I want to get at. And I've discovered lately that there's more and more talk, more and more chatter about inner peace. I've seen ads on meditation techniques lately. I told you in our first message that when I Googled in, when I typed in Google, inner peace, I got back 1 billion, 60 million results. And of course, I don't have time to go through even a tenth of those, but just clicking on a few of them, telling you how to get inner peace, inner calm, personal peace, they will advocate things like using crystals or herbs or spirit guides, all of which are placebos.

And the real source is what we want to talk about today. I want to give you then in this section of Scripture, we're going to look at primarily the first four verses and a couple of others, five fundamentals of personal peace. I've written them down in an outline in your worship folder for you to use for taking notes. First of all, this personal peace is found in God. Now, I know you would expect a preacher to say that, and that's because you should expect the Bible to say that, and it does.

A personal peace, the real source, is found in God. So let's look at the first four verses of our text, Isaiah 26, verse 1. In that day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah.

We have a strong city. God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks. Open the gates that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.

Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah the Lord is everlasting strength. This section is a song of praise, a song of praise. I'll get into that, that context in just a minute. But notice in what we just read that the author, when he writes this, Isaiah, goes from the third person to the second person back to the third person. That is, he talks about God, then he talks to God, then he goes and talks about God.

But that is the theme of his writing. He's talking about the Lord, God. And you'll notice that he uses the covenant name for the Lord. I want you to look at verse 4, and it says trust in the what? Now how is that written in your Bible?

All capitals. Every time you see all capitals you know that that's the covenant name that God gave to his people way back in the law when he introduced himself as Yahweh, Yahweh, I am that I am, the Lord. Then in verse 4 it says trust in the Lord, Yahweh forever. Then it says something a little bit unusual in this translation, for in Yah, which is simply a shortened form of Yahweh, for in Yah the Lord, so literally for in Yah, Yahweh, is everlasting strength. So what he's doing is saying that the source of all of this promise that we're going to sing about is the Lord himself.

So personal peace is found in God. By the way, in verse 4 see where it says everlasting strength? How many of you have a marginal note in your Bible? If you look really closely and you can read that small, if your eyes are still good, it has a little marginal note that says literally or rock of ages.

Does it say that? That's because in Hebrew that's the translation. So the verse literally is trust in Yahweh forever, for in Yah, Yahweh is the rock of ages. And I bring that up because some of you are familiar with a very famous hymn by that title.

It was written in 1776 by a hymn writer named Augustus Toplady. Story is, he was walking down a path and a thunderstorm broke out, rain, thunder, lightning, and he didn't have shelter, so he found a little cleft in a rock by the side of the road, a little cave, and he kind of hid himself in it and he thought about the shelter that God provides, the peace that God brings. And so based on that verse, he thought of the words to this famous hymn, rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee. Look at the, let me draw your attention to the last verse of that hymn. He says, when mine eyes shall close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne, rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee. Here's the hymn writer basically saying, no matter what happens in life, even the very worst, my own physical death, my hope is in you.

My trust is in you. I know that you are the provider and sustainer of me. You provide peace. So the experience that the author is getting at here is the peace of God, the peace of God, the feeling of tranquility. It's that calm or inner calm that we experience independent of outward circumstances. If you remember in our very first study, I talked about the cushion of the sea. Sailors call it that. There's a place so far under the ocean that no matter what storms are going on, on the top of the water, you can get to a place where it is absolutely undisturbed.

The cushion of the sea. God wants to place you in His cushion, the cushion of His sea and give you that calm and that peace and that tranquility. So that's the thought here in these verses that God is the source of peace. Personal peace is found in God. I've discovered that most people define peace as the absence of something. You say, well, what is peace to you?

It's a no war. It's the absence of war. It's the absence of strife. It's the absence of conflict. Listen, you can have the absence of war and strife and conflict in a cemetery. And that's not the best role model of peace, is it? So it's not the absence of something.

It's the presence of something. God's definition isn't the absence of conflict. God's definition of peace is the presence of God, of Himself in the midst of conflict. No matter what conflict is going on, God says, I'll be there.

I'll be there. When two Jews meet on the street, two Jewish people in Israel and they see each other and they want to give each other greetings, what word do they say? They say shalom.

You hear it all the time, shalom, shalom. It means peace. Now, when they say that, they're not saying, may you have no more wars. What they're saying is that may you experience the deep and abiding peace, calm and tranquility that God brings. So let me give you a definition of peace, of this personal peace. Peace is the calm assurance that what God is doing is best. Peace is the calm assurance that what God is doing is best. So peace isn't just the absence of conflict and the presence of nothing. That's just a cold war.

You can have that in your home. It's called a truce. You can have peace by just avoiding the issues.

You don't really talk about the issues. You have this sort of uneasy peace produced by the fact that you don't open your mouth. And so you keep it inside and you fume and you walk around angry. That's not peace.

That's just restraint. What God offers is far deeper and far better. So personal peace is found in God.

Let's keep this going. Second, personal peace is forecast for the kingdom. Now, I want to explain this because I always tell you that every text has to be interpreted by its context and its setting. And none of us has the right to just sort of lift a verse out of scripture and make it apply to anything we want. So this also has a context.

And here's the context. Chapters 24, 25, 26 and 27, those four chapters are called by scholars the little apocalypse or Isaiah's little apocalypse because they deal with a future theme, an apocalyptic theme. And so often the prophets did this, right? They wrote about an immediate event going on around them, but they used that as a model of something that will be fulfilled to a greater extent in the future. So it's sort of like prophetic bifocals.

You're seeing something close, but you can also use that to see something much further away. So this is Isaiah's little apocalypse and chapters 25 and 26 are two songs that are written, songs of praise. And they are the songs that the restored Jewish remnant will sing after the tribulation period when they go into the kingdom age.

We're going to do a whole message on that era called the kingdom age at the last of this Give Peace a Chance series, but just so you know that the setting here is a prophetic setting of the millennial kingdom, the thousand year reign of Christ on the earth, that age of peace that is coming up. So with that in mind, look at verse one, in that day. It's something that is that little phrase in that day is used three times in this section. It is used 44 times in the book of Isaiah.

He's using something to speak about a far flung event in that day. This song will be sung in the land of Judah. We have a strong city. It's referring to Jerusalem as a strong city. That's because in the kingdom age, Jerusalem is going to be HQ, Messiah, headquarters. It has always been God's intention, plan, purpose to have His Son, the Messiah, Jesus Christ rule and reign literally, geographically from Jerusalem to rule over the whole earth, which He will do for a thousand years. Even though the world coming out of the tribulation won't be excited about that, Psalm 2 puts it this way, why do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth have set themselves and the rulers of the earth have met together and have come against the Lord and against His Christ, literally, His Messiah, His anointed.

And they have said, let us break their bonds asunder or let us cast their cords far from us. But God says this, I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion, that's Jerusalem. God goes on to say, you are my son. This day I have begotten you, ask of me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance. It's a picture of Messiah ruling and reigning the world from the city of Jerusalem. And it will be an absolute government.

He goes on to say, you will break them with a rod of iron, you will dash them in pieces with a potter's vessel. So because Messiah will be ruling and reigning from Jerusalem during that time, it will be a very strong peace. It will be a maximum security facility, not in terms of a jail or incarceration, but in terms of peace. He's going to bring an absolute peace to the world. So it says in that day, that day is when the believing remnant of Israel is safe and secure, protected by their Messiah, delivered from the tribulation period in the kingdom age as Jesus is ruling and reigning, His people are going to have deep peace.

You will keep Him in perfect peace, His mind has stayed on you. That's the context of it. It's in that little apocalypse section. So with that in mind, go down to verse 12 now. We're not going to go through the whole chapter, just a couple of verses here. Verse 12, Lord, Yahweh, you will establish peace for us, for you have also done all our works in us. Oh Lord, our God, masters besides you have had dominion over us, but by you only we make mention of your name.

So the personal peace will grow into a national, international peace. And in verse 13, it makes mention of the fact that the Jewish people have in history been ruled by many different nations. They've had many task masters over them. They have suffered a slavery and takeover by a number of different groups. I think of the Egyptians, I think of the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Medo-Persians, the Syrians, the Romans, right?

There's a long list of that. All of that is over. Now it's just their Messiah and there's peace in the land and there's peace in their hearts.

So that's the future. A peace is found in God. It is forecast for the kingdom. Here's the third fundamental fact of personal peace. It flourishes with virtue.

It flourishes with virtue. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series, Give Peace a Chance. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now here's Skip to share how you can connect you and many others with the truth of God's Word with a gift to keep these messages going out around the world through Connect with Skip Heitzig. If you're going to hold firmly to biblical truth, then you must study God's Word.

That's why we share these Bible teachings to strengthen you in God's Word so you can stand on His unchanging truth. And when you come alongside this ministry with a gift of support, you do the same for many other listeners around the world. Now this year I'm praying that God will open doors for these teachings to reach even more people in some of the major U.S. cities across our country. You can help make that vision possible with a generous gift. So please consider giving today.

Here's how you can do that. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. And did you know there's a great biblical resource available right at your fingertips through your mobile device? You can access several of Skip's Bible reading plans in the YouVersion Bible app and dive deeper into several books of the Bible to gain new insights. Just search Skip Heitzig in the YouVersion Bible app. Tune in next week for more powerful teaching from Skip. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-17 05:06:29 / 2023-11-17 05:16:06 / 10

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