Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, February 3rd.
When things go wrong, do you get anxious, stressed, and worried? Today's podcast amplifies Christ's encouraging words that offer peace in times of trouble. Being able to experience peace in our heart is becoming an increasing challenge. And so you and I might ask the question, well, how can I be at peace when we are continually being confronted with such outrageous violence in our life? And how can we be at peace when it seems that our very bodies are besieged by all kinds of killer diseases? And how can we be at peace when a person's word doesn't mean anything anymore, when love and loyalty are simply passing emotions that people experience, when our finances are no more certain than tomorrow's weather, when someone is always ridiculing what we believe? How do you expect to have peace in that kind of a society, in that kind of a circumstance?
Well, that's what I want to talk about in this message. And I want you to turn, if you will, to the Gospel of John in the fourteenth chapter. Because in this chapter, Jesus gives us a word concerning this whole idea of peace.
And that is, how do we experience peace in times of great trouble? We're all going to experience trouble in our life. There's always going to be trouble. As long as we live on this planet, we're going to face it. It's not going to get any better.
It's going to get worse. And all you have to do is live a little while and realize as you look back a few years, it is getting worse and worse. So if you intend to live where there is no trouble and no heartache and no suffering and no death, then you have to find some other planet to live on because that's just not the way it's going to be. There's always going to be these difficulties, hardships, trials, violence, bloodshed, animosity, jealousy, covetousness, and all the rest. And what we have to ask is not how do we escape it, but how do we live in such a fashion that we can live with peace in our heart no matter what? Well, let me give you a little background before we read this.
Let me tell you what's happening. It's the night before the crucifixion. Jesus has been experiencing the Passover supper with his disciples and they've been talking about lots of things and the process of doing so, he said to them, one of you is going to betray me. You can imagine the kind of troublesome heart immediately began to erupt in all of them. And then he began to, of course, talk about having to leave them. And he was going to be separated from them and that they would undergo all kinds of difficulty and hardship. And then the process of explaining all these things, he said to Peter, he said, Peter, you're going to deny me three times.
And so imagine what kind of trouble must have filled their heart. Here's the Messiah, the one they've walked with and talked with and they've watched all these miracles. He says He's God. He says He's the Messiah. He says if you've seen Him, you've seen the Father and now He says that one of them has betrayed Him and now He's having to tell one of the others of themselves that He's going to deny Him three times and He's going to leave them.
I mean, you can imagine what kind of awesome frustration and anxiety and fear gripped their hearts. Well, in the process of doing that, I want you to look at this first verse. Having told them all of that, here's what he says, let not your heart be troubled.
Believe in God, believe also in me. What? Wait a minute. You said that one of us is going to betray you. Peter's going to deny you three times. You get ready to leave us and you're telling us don't be troubled?
Doesn't sound very smart. Here's what that verse really says. Be troubled no longer.
That's really what it says. Be troubled no longer. Believe in God, believe also in me. Now, the reason I take time to talk about that particular incident is because I want us to see something here.
That times really haven't changed a whole lot when it comes to human nature. That just as these things trouble them, you and I are troubled in life about different things. All of us face different kinds of trouble. Those things that trouble our heart. Those things that steal our peace. Those things that fragment our emotions. Those things that cause us to doubt maybe at times.
Those things that cause us to begin to wonder, well God, if you're there, why do you allow these things to happen? And so, for the most part, there's a great absence of peace in the heart of most people. And so the question is, how can I have that kind of peace? How can I experience genuine tranquility in my heart? How can I be still in the midst of a storm? How can my heart be quiet when there's so many things around me that cause me so much heartache and things that threaten my safety and threaten my future and threaten my security and threaten my very life? How can I even believe that there's a way to be peaceful in the world in which I live? Well there is. Now I want you to listen carefully because I do not ever want to stand here and give you some pie in the sky kind of off the cuff, brief little biblical verse of Scripture on something to say, well if you'll just do this and so, here's what will happen. If this didn't work, I wouldn't be standing here telling you it does. If you couldn't have peace and great difficulty and hardship and trials and threats in your life, I would not tell you you could.
You absolutely can. And Jesus is certainly the key to that. But I want you to listen carefully because you see, it's very evident in the Scripture that God intends for you and me to be able to live at peace. Now the world in which these people were living was a very difficult world just to exist, just to be alive for most people because so many of them were slaves.
They were just eking out a living. And so Jesus certainly will not make promises that were not practical, real, livable that could make a difference in a person's life. So when He said, peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give it to you, He says, don't allow your heart to keep on being troubled and keep on being fearful. Now when I think about the promises of Scripture, for example, He says in the Psalms, the thirty-fourth Psalm, He says, seek peace and pursue it. Why would God tell us to seek peace and pursue it if He not intend for us and had not prepared for us a possibility of having it? He says, for example, in 2 Corinthians chapter thirteen verse eleven, He said, live in peace. Why would He say live in peace if we could not live in peace?
Because they were very troublesome times. He says, for example, in Colossians chapter three verse fifteen, He says, allow peace to rule in your heart. That is above everything else, allow peace to rule in your heart. So it is very evident in the Scriptures that He certainly wants us to live with a sense of peace. If you'll think about all of Paul's epistles beginning in Romans and first and second Corinthians and Galatians and Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Timothy to Timothy, Titus, the Thessalonians and Philemon, every single letter he wrote, no exception. In his salutation, he said to them, grace and peace be unto you.
Why? Because he knew how very important, listen, the grace of God always precedes the peace. But he says, peace be unto you.
That is the tranquility and the calmness and the stillness and the quietness that Christ and only Christ can give the human heart. You see, he knew that and the people whether it was to a person like Timothy or Philemon or to Titus or whether it was to the church like Ephesus or Rome or Corinth, he was saying to all of them, peace be to you. And if you think about how Paul also described God, he said he identified Him, for example, in Romans fifteen, he called Him the God of peace. And if you recall in Isaiah, when he was talking about Jesus, wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of peace. And Paul also called Him the Lord of peace. And so certainly God is a God of peace. And He wants peace in your life and my life. In other words, God wants us to be able to live in a troublesome, turbulent, tumultuous, uncertain, insecure, violent, vicious, wicked, vile, needy world with a sense of assurance, confidence, peace in our heart that no matter what happens, He wants to give us a peace that cannot be shaken, cannot be stolen from us unless we choose to lay it down.
Jesus said, my peace I give to you. Therefore He says, no longer allow your heart to keep on being in trouble. No longer keep on, He says, being fearful. And so when He makes this promise, what I want you to see is this, He's making this promise not to a group of disciples who have it all together, not to a group of disciples who have no frustrations, no anxieties, no fears, and no frustrations about their belief. He's making this promise to them in the most troublesome time of their entire life. And He says, don't be fearful any longer. Don't be troubled in your heart any longer. My peace I give to you, not as the world gives give unto you, let not your heart be troubled.
Now I want us to look at this 27th verse because it is an awesome promise, but it is a promise that is very practical. Now let's think about where they are. They are living in the three darkest days on this earth.
Here they are. All of history is getting ready to move at this moment, B.C. before Christ, A.D. after our Lord. Everything that they depended upon is about to lead them. They put their whole trust in Him. They left everything for Him, and now He says, I'm going to leave you. Now He says, I'm coming again, but you know what? When you're oftentimes so troubled in your heart and your ache is so deep and your pain is so excruciating, it's very difficult to hear sometimes things we need to hear. And in spite of that, here's what's happening. Their whole world's getting ready to fall apart. And imagine Peter's feeling when he said, you mean to tell me that I'm going to deny you three times?
No way. What a devastating blow. But it was a warning to him. And so in the light of that, here he says, my peace I'm going to give you.
Now let's think about it for a moment. They were very, very sad because he was about to leave them. They were very, listen, they were not only sad, they were ashamed because what had they been talking about? And you remember they talked about, for example, who's going to be the greatest among us?
Who's going to sit by your side in the kingdom? No selfish they were about so many things. And so they were ashamed of themselves. They certainly were very perplexed, very perplexed because they were suffering in their own minds. How can He be the Messiah? And now somebody's going to crucify Him. How can He be God and allow somebody to do that to Him?
How can He be one with the Father? How can He die? How can He be crucified, be buried, sealed in a tomb and be resurrected? In other words, let's think about it.
We can read this, accept this because 2,000 years ago it happened. We have the revelation of God's Word and they're living in the turmoil, living in the uncertainty, feeling the pain and the fear of it all. Besides that, if they crucify Him, what are they going to do to them? Because after all, everybody knows they've been with Him. They're part of the program.
And so this is what they're facing. And He says to them, my peace I give to you. Now what kind of peace was that?
Was that some little idea that was very impractical? Was He just salving their conscience and quieting them for the moment? Was He offering them something that would last for a lifetime? Listen, whatever He offered them, remember this verse in Hebrews 13. He says, verse 8, Jesus Christ is same yesterday, today and forever.
Now watch this. Here is the big misunderstanding that oftentimes people have. They read this verse of Scripture and it says, let not your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me. Then that means as a Christian, once you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, you're not to let troubles bother you anymore. Not to be stressful over anything. Not to allow these things. You don't get perturbed. You don't get ruffled.
You just take life with a grain of salt and you just move on through life and none of these things happen. That is not what He was saying. That is not what that says. Listen to what He said. He said, no longer let allow it to trouble you. Did He understand they were troubled?
Yes. Now the reason I know He didn't mean that, some pie in the sky kind of, well, you know, just pray and talk to God and everything's going to be fine. Well, how many of us have prayed and talked to God and everything wasn't fine? Right?
We all have. We've prayed and talked to God and everything wasn't fine. But that's all it took.
It'd be real simple. There are troubles. There are heartaches. There are persecutions.
There are trials. There are losses in life, whether it's loved ones or finances or whatever it might be. There are all kinds of troubles we face in life. And Jesus' answer isn't just, well, just believe the best. Just think positively. No, that doesn't get rid of a whole lot of trouble in life.
And so what I want you to see is this. Jesus had moments in His life when the Bible says He was troubled in His Spirit. Therefore I know Jesus wasn't saying, just this simple, just stop. Has anybody ever said to you, well, stop feeling that way? And I think sometimes parents say that to children. Then you wonder why they get angry at you because you're telling them to do something you can't do.
Just decide, I will not feel this way any longer. When you're hurting, all those self-imposed words will not eliminate this storm, this civil war going on inside of your heart. And so when Jesus said this, He understood where they were. And therefore that isn't what God is saying. God is not saying, just don't be troubled. He knows you're not going through trouble.
That's what the grace of God's all about. Sometimes when we fail, times when we do get anxious, we do get fearful. When things hit us on the blind side or we see them coming, it's easy sometimes to become fearful and anxious about these things. What He's saying is this, He's not saying don't ever be troubled, don't ever be anxious, don't ever fret, don't ever worry, don't ever fear. He's saying don't let it conquer you. You don't have to live in it. It may hit you, you may experience it, but you can step above it.
You don't have to live in it. He's not saying don't ever be troubled, but don't stay in it. Don't stay in the attitude of that trouble. In other words, He's not saying because He knows that you cannot live in a world without trouble and without facing troubles. And I was just looking out of one of the offices that didn't touch this week and just I'm looking out the window and all of a sudden, here are two cars, one of them side swipes the other, throws the other one around, big wreck right there in front of my eyes and here comes the ambulances and the police and everybody else and I was thinking, you know what?
These two cars, these people, both going the same direction on their way, more than likely talking about where they were going, what they were going to do when they get there and suddenly without any warning, they got lots of trouble. Life is very, very uncertain. But you and I can sit at home and think, oh my Lord, I can't even get in the car, I can't get on the expressway. In other words, we could think up enough things that would threaten us that we wouldn't even want to get out of the house.
And then you think about hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes, there's no point in staying in there either, so you know, anywhere you go, it doesn't work. So you can't live that way. God wants His people to live in peace and to be able to live above these trials and these tribulations and heartaches. Now notice what He said, He said, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives.
So there is a peace that the world, that is the world's system has to offer. Now here's the difference. Now watch this. What is the difference? The difference is this. If you ask the average person, what will it take to make you, give you peace in your heart?
Ninety-nine percent of them are going to talk about some circumstance in their life. That this circumstance would change. If I could control this, here's the difference. The difference in the peace that He gives and the peace that the world has to offer is this. The peace the world has to offer usually is surrounded or involved in my outward circumstances. The peace that He gives, listen, is not based on circumstances but a relationship. It is a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. It's a relationship with God who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. It's a relationship with God who is my Father, my Shepherd, my Protector, my Refuge, my Strength. He is my Strength, my Fortress.
The one whom I can depend upon any moment at any point of the time in life no matter what's going on. So it's not a matter of circumstances. That's what the world says. Well you change my circumstances and I'll have peace.
No. The world's idea of peace is if I work at it, I work at it hard enough, I'll produce my own peace. Well the peace He gives, He says, is a gift. He says the Holy Spirit who lives on the inside of His children will, listen, will bear the fruit of peace. That is, it is the Spirit of God living on the inside of us who enables us, strengthens us, gives us the capacity and the power to face danger, heartache, troubles, trials, tribulations, pain, suffering and loss and at the same time not be overwhelmed by it, not be overcome by it, feeling the hurt that people have, yes, but somehow having an awesome sense of peace and tranquility and quietness through it all. The world's looking at circumstances. God says it's not circumstances, it's relationship. They're looking at the idea of what we can do.
He says no, it's not a matter of what you can do. He says it is absolutely the gift of God. Thank you for listening to part one of Peace in Times of Trouble. 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 / 2023-06-13 13:42:45 / 2023-06-13 13:51:05 / 8