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The God of Peace Makes you Complete, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
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January 12, 2024 10:00 am

The God of Peace Makes you Complete, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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January 12, 2024 10:00 am

This message titled The God of Peace Makes You Complete, is the final sermon in this series on the book of Hebrews.  In Hebrews 13:18-25, the author asks God’s people to pray for faithfulness and fellowship in his own life and ministry.  He also offers up a prayer on their behalf- for peace and God’s power in their lives.

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Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. This message, titled The God of Peace Makes You Complete, is the final sermon in this series on the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 13, 18 through 25, the author asks God's people to pray for faithfulness and fellowship in his own life and ministry. He also offers up a prayer on their behalf for peace and God's power in their lives. In a time when peace is so deeply sought and so rarely found, Pastor Rich reminds us where we can find inner peace and strength.

Let's listen in. This is part two of a message first preached on February 24th, 2013. This is his benediction. He says, I've asked you to pray. He says, now I pray. Now I'm praying for you. This is the blessing.

This is the benediction. And here's what I'm praying for you. I pray for God's peace in you. I'm praying that you will be ruled by God's peace.

Why? Because he is the God of peace. The word for peace that is used here means a state of peace.

A state of peace. A lack of worry, a lack of anxiety, a lack of internal noise. What do you mean internal noise? Where does this internal noise come from? This internal noise comes from, for example, the branch that severs itself from the tree. And it lays there without any source, without any sustenance. And the branch has to clamor for its own survival.

The branch, that severed branch has to clamor for its own security, for its own significance. And all of this is the internal noise that can happen in the heart of the individual that is not in communion and fellowship with God. And the writer of Hebrews says, I pray that God's peace will rule in your heart. That he will erase the noise, all the clamoring for identity, the clamoring for purpose, for direction, for security, for satisfaction. That God will rule in your heart.

That all of that will be freely realized and recognized in his purpose and in his character. I'll give you a few examples of that that come just very much from our culture today. This is from a report of Lisa Miller in her article entitled, Listening to Xanax. It chronicles how Americans learn to stop worrying about worry and pop its pills instead. Her article focuses on the use of drugs to deal with low-grade anxiety about ordinary life. Miller writes, In the anxious times, Xanax offers a lot. It dissolves your worries, whatever they are, like a special kiss from Mommy. In my social circles, she says, Xanax-type drugs are traded with generosity and goodwill. Ranging about problems, everything ranging from layoffs, rounds of layoffs, enduring family holiday, or just being fearful of flying.

A real estate executive says he finds that as long as he has the pills on hand, he rarely has to use them. Quote, Just knowing they're there makes me feel better. Daniel Gilbert, a professor at Harvard University, states, quote, An uncertain future leaves us stranded in an unhappy present with nothing to do but wait. Our national gloom is real enough, but it isn't a matter of insufficient funds. It's a matter of insufficient certainty. We're scared of the future.

We don't know what lies ahead. Let me share with you a clear contrast to that I mentioned last week and the point about hospitality. About a woman who was a lesbian, she was a tenured professor at Syracuse University, and she was invited to a pastor's house, and he and his wife met with her for over two years. And God gloriously brought her to himself. She is today a pastor's wife with three adopted children. This is her book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.

You will be royally challenged by this book if you choose to read it. Here are some of the things that she said. These are the things that God was doing in her life when she recognized the pride of her sin that before she didn't even think was sin. She said, I wasn't plagued with anxiety or nightmares anymore. The intestinal distress that had been my daily companion was no longer a part of my life. I changed my exercise routine from intense running to active walking. I cleaned my house and my office the way God was cleaning my soul.

I pitched things that were not honoring to God. I suddenly had time in my life to reflect. I took up gardening.

I enjoyed baking bread from scratch for my friends and neighbors. I relaxed. I grew in strength in the Lord. I forgave my enemies, enjoyed the solitude of daily prayer. I read and reread the Bible, searching for examples for my life. Jesus was my teacher and the apostle Paul, my brother and kindred spirit. I started to develop real friendships from within my church family. And on the testimony goes.

What is that? That is the peace of God clearing out the noise. The noise, the clamoring for identity, security, satisfaction, purpose. The peace of God calms that noise and erases it. This is what the author of Hebrews is praying for in his people. And he says, what is that source of peace? He mentions that source of peace right here in his benediction. It is the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, the great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. Our Lord Jesus Christ is that source of peace. He is a powerful promise keeper.

Why do we say that? Because he prevailed over what separates you from God. That is death. He prevailed over death. God raised him from the dead. He walked away from death.

Death is what separates you from God. Death is the state of the branch being severed from the tree. That branch is dead. It might look alive, but it is dead. It has no source.

It has no sustenance. And God, through Jesus Christ, has brought that branch back and grafted you into the tree. And now you once again have life where it did not exist before.

That one. He is the source of peace. He prevailed over what separates you from God. And he guaranteed it with his own life.

The blood of the covenant. He guaranteed it with his own life. It is a guaranteed promise, meaning you are anchored in destination and nothing changes your destiny. Nothing.

No circumstances at all. You are anchored there because he guaranteed it with his own life. And he is called the shepherd of the sheep. What is a shepherd? A shepherd is a gentle leader of rugged compassion. A gentle leader of rugged compassion. He is your shepherd that you can simply follow him.

Listen to his voice and follow him. He is the prince of peace. That's why we call him the prince of peace. Because he is your source of peace. Very, very important that we think about God the way he has revealed himself. Which is why the writer of Hebrews wrote this book. You see, your inner peace has much to do with how you think about God.

Let me say that again. Your inner peace has much to do with how you think about God. There are many verses in the scripture that talk a lot about how we think and what we think about. Philippians 4-8. Whatever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, excellent, praiseworthy, think on these things.

Now let me ask you a question. What defines those things? True, honest, just, pure, lovely, excellent, praiseworthy. Does that not define the character of God? You see, your inner peace has much to do with how you think about God. Because the verse that follows that talks about a peace that surpasses understanding.

So, how do we think about God? Hebrews is all about faith. Faith is entrusting myself to a trustworthy object.

Do I trust him? What is the opposite of that trust? It's a life full of uncontentment and complaining. It's noise. That internal noise. I like what Jeff Mannion said in The Land Between, published by Zondervan in 2010. Listen to this.

It's good. The heart drifts towards complaint as if by gravitational pull. After all, complaint seems a reasonable response to a sequence of disappointing events. Generally, you don't have to extend an invitation for complaint to show up. It arrives as an uninvited guest. You return home from yet another frustrating day to discover that complaint has moved into your guest room, unpacked its luggage, started a load of laundry, and is rooting through your fridge. Even as you seek to dislodge complaint, as you move its bags to the curb and change the locks, it crawls back through the guest room window.

Complaint resists eviction. Before we know it, complaint feels right because it is familiar. With every struggle, we become the Israelites murmuring in the desert. We miss the faith lessons.

God desires to prepare us and build things into us, but we are hunkered down in our pattern of response. We need to wake up and notice what is happening. How do we evict that spirit of complaint?

I have heard it said that bad movement pushes out good movement, and good movement pushes out bad movement. We can discourage complaint's residency in our lives by inviting another guest to move in with us. That new guest is trust. When we choose to trust in the face of deep disappointment, complaint has less space to maneuver. While attempting to unpack for an extended stay, it discovers that trust has taken all the drawers in the guest room and already occupies the empty seat at the table. Trust evicts complaint, let me say it again, trust evicts complaint. Trust and complaint are incompatible roommates.

One inevitably pushes the other one out. Trust. Trust the prince of peace, and let his peace rule in your heart and mind. This is why the author of Hebrews, in his benediction, prays that God's peace will rule in the hearts and minds of his people. The God of peace through the prince of peace, the shepherd of our souls, let his peace rule in you. Your inner peace has much to do with how you think about God. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, 7 Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. 7 Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-12 10:14:16 / 2024-01-12 10:19:04 / 5

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