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Three Keys to Enduring Peace #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
October 13, 2022 8:00 am

Three Keys to Enduring Peace #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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October 13, 2022 8:00 am

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Christ is to be so preeminent that your heart is settled in peace about what the future holds in a troubled world. We're so glad you've joined us for the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I'm Bill Wright, and we're continuing a series called Escaping the Anxiety Trap. Today, Don gives you three keys to enduring peace, as our Lord detailed in John 16, verse 33. Well, Don, Jesus said earlier in John 14, Peace I leave with you, as he was about to depart and ascend. Many people wonder why there have still been wars and conflicts in the world. That's because they misunderstand the kind of peace Jesus was referring to, right? Peace in the Bible isn't simply the absence of military conflict between nations. In fact, Jesus said that we should not think that he's come to bring peace on earth.

He came to bring peace with God to sinners who would repent and receive Christ for salvation. Think about yourself. Think about yourself alone before a holy God who hates sin, and you'll see the urgent need for real peace in your life, the peace that Christ gives, reconciliation with God through faith in Christ. Look to Christ and think about him as we go into this program.

Thanks, Don. And friend, focus in on John 16, 33 now, as our teacher continues teaching God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit. What I want you to see, beloved, is this. Christ is to be so preeminent in your affections that your heart is settled in peace about what the future holds.

Anxiety about the future is contrary to the Christian faith. Here, Jesus is laying before us the source of peace, giving forth principles that would cultivate peace in a troubled world. Things that apply right now, today, to what you're contemplating in your life. I want to lay this out in three principles from verse 33. And the first principle is this. How is it that we cultivate peace in this troubled world? How is it that you can look devastating trials into square in the face and rise above them regardless of whether it changes or not?

That's the point that I love to come back to again and again and again, because if the Christian faith is true, and it is, then it means that your circumstances do not have to change for you to know this inner tranquility that Jesus is commending to his disciples. Point number one, here's a good starting point for you if you're confused in the midst of your trials. Point number one, we'll phrase it this way, recognize the obstacles.

Recognize the obstacles. Look at verse 33 with me again. Jesus says, Stop right there. In the world you have tribulation. Job said that man is born for trouble as the sparks fly upward.

It's just a natural course of events in a fallen world. Jesus says in this world you will have and you have tribulation. This word for tribulation includes the idea of pressure. It's a multifaceted word. It can refer to outward circumstances that are difficult.

It can also be used to refer to the internal afflictions of the human heart. Jesus says in this world you have tribulation. In this immediate context he's referring to that coming immediate trial that will cause his disciples to scatter. The army is going to come. It's going to arrest them. They're going to be under pressure and they're going to flee from that pressure to try to get away from it. They're going to run, like some of us try to do sometimes in our difficulties. But here in this context, in knowing that Jesus was planning these words to be recorded for our use and edification as well, certainly within the scope of this word to understand troubles in a broader sense to include all of the various problems that come to you and me from living in a fallen world.

Every aspect of it. Jesus is telling you right now that you're going to have trouble in this world. You say, well that's not very helpful. How is that supposed to help me have peace? You're telling me trouble's coming. I don't want trouble.

How does that help? I see it this way. To be forewarned about tribulation is to be forearmed. If you have false expectations about the Christian life, that somehow this is going to be your deliverance from trouble, that life is going to be smooth and it's going to be a sailboat on a smooth lake, then sooner or later your expectations are bound to be broken. If you come to the Christian life with that kind of expectation that this is a life of tranquility externally, then sooner or later death or sickness or reversal is going to come and you're going to find yourself stranded with no place to go. Beloved, Jesus loves you enough to tell you what the reality of the situation is so that you can know the lay of the land and know where you're going. Tribulation does not have to disturb your tranquility because if you understand in advance that you will have your share of troubles of different kinds, you don't have to be perplexed.

You don't have to be knocked off course and wonder, What is going on here? Where did God go in the midst of these trials? Is he angry with me?

Have I done something wrong? Why has the hand of God turned against me as evidenced by these external trials I'm going through? That whole line of broken, distorted, wrong thinking is precluded when you understand this simple word that Jesus speaks. In the world you have tribulation.

They're going to come. Of course you have difficulties, beloved. It's part of living the Christian life. I don't say that to diminish your struggles. I don't say that in a condescending or condemning way.

Just understand the reality of it. When Adam and Eve fell, it introduced a whole world of problems into God's creation. And you not only are experiencing some of the results of that, you're contributing to the problem with your own sin and falling short of God. So of course you have difficulties. If Jesus suffered in this world, and he did, and he was sinless, and he was, then, beloved, it follows that you as his disciple are going to have troubles, too.

We just have to get our expectations straightened out. Really, the question is, What will the form of your troubles ultimately be, not whether they will come? It's helpful to me, if you think about a commercial airplane in this context. Commercial airplanes have instruments that give the pilot reference points to stay on course, even when he can't see where he's going.

If it's dark, if it's stormy, the instruments tell him where the plane is at and what the direction is. And if he didn't have that instrument, if he had to rely on his own judgment, he would surely stray into danger. Beloved, one of your spiritual instruments in life that you need to lay hold of when trials come is to step back and recognize that obstacles are an inherent part of living the Christian life. Take heart in that, because Jesus knew you would have trials, and he warned you in advance.

The airplane of your life isn't off course simply because you have trials. You're just having tribulations, and Jesus said that you would. You look at these words, you look at your life and say, God, this is just what Jesus said.

I'm not lost here. So you have to start and recognize that trials and tribulations are going to be part of the Christian life, and that God's hand is in the middle of all of it, working out his purposes, working them out for your good. But beloved, it's not enough, I would say, to simply recognize that obstacles are going to come. It'd be pretty easy, either in the midst of the trials or simply hearing that declared, to say that's really a bummer. I don't want trials. I don't like the trial that I'm in. And you just say, I give up. And you give in to the discouragement that trials tempt you to.

You know what I'm talking about, don't you? And just say, I don't want to fight anymore. I don't want to go on.

This is just too heavy on my heart, and I've had enough. You could recognize the obstacles and come out there, but that's not where we come out because you need to go further, and Jesus here shows the disciples how you go further in the midst of the tribulation. Point number two here, just to kind of outline this for you. Point number two, you not only recognize the obstacles, point number two, you rise to the occasion. You rise to the occasion. Look at the middle of verse 33 with me again. Jesus said, in the world you have tribulation, but take courage. Take courage. This is a command that calls the disciples and calls you today.

I love the challenge of this. I love the challenge of the Word of God in the midst of trials. This Word expresses a call to you to manifest spiritual strength in the face of your intimidating circumstances.

Life is hard, and you're tasting that and you feel it out. And in the midst of that, Jesus comes to you and says, take courage, play the part of a man, rise to the occasion. Don't wilt in the face of enemy fire. Stand up and be confident. Stand up and display the spiritual strength that is worthy of the Lord who died for your sins.

That's the idea. I want to take you to a few places where Jesus uses this word so you can kind of get the sense for it and the different circumstances in which it's used. I'll just show you three from the book of Matthew if you turn back to Matthew chapter 9. Again, just wanting you to see the flavor of this word for to take courage.

Taking courage, meaning to have confidence and firmness of purpose in the face of testing. Look at Matthew chapter 9 verse 2, for example, Matthew 9 verse 2. How does Jesus use this word? They brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed, and seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, take courage son, your sins are forgiven. In the midst of being flat on that bed as they brought Him to Jesus, Jesus says take courage. He calls forth this response of faith from the man, telling him that his sins were forgiven, stand up and rise like a man.

He speaks to his heart before he speaks to his body in that instance. In verse 22, actually let's go to verse 20, where we see a fearful, trembling woman at the feet of Jesus. Matthew 9 verse 20, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for 12 years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak. For she was saying to herself, if I only touch His garment, I will get well. Jesus turned and saw her and said, daughter, take courage, your faith has made you well.

In the midst of her fear and trembling of reaching out and touching the garment of the Son of God, Jesus turns to her and says, take courage, stand firm, your faith has made you well. One more in Matthew 14 verse 27. We'll start in verse 25.

The disciples are on a boat in the sea. In verse 24 it says, the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves, for the wind was contrary. I love to love how understated this next verse is, verse 25. In the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came to them walking on the sea.

It's like He's walking down Hollywood Boulevard. He's walking on the sea. No one walks on the sea.

But Jesus does. In verse 26, when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, it is a ghost, and they cried out in fear. Verse 27, but immediately Jesus spoke to them saying, take courage, it is I, do not be afraid. In the midst of life threatening circumstances, shaking in their figurative boots, Jesus says to them, take courage. Be confident because it is Me. Be firm of purpose because it is Me.

Beloved, it's the same thing today. You have to look at the unseen spiritual realities that are working in your life. The hand of God in the providence of everything that comes to you. The fact that He intends to bless you in them and to bring good out of everything that comes. Because He works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Because you know that He intends to bring you into His heavenly home where you will see Christ face to face. And you take all of those unseen realities that we only know because God has graciously revealed them to us in the Scriptures.

And you bring those unseen realities to bear on your trials. And you say, I am going to take heart, I'm going to take courage, I am going to stand firm in the midst of my trials, having confidence in God no matter what comes. And I will love Him and I will praise Him.

I will worship Him before I see how this resolves itself. I will not withhold my affection. I will not withhold my obedience. I will not withhold my love and testimony to Christ until God changes this.

I will give Him myself unreservedly, completely, even if it never changes. That's the idea of taking courage, firmness of purpose, unqualified allegiance to the God of your salvation, come what may. Rise to the occasion. And when we talk about rising to the occasion, beloved, I want to be real specific here. When you think of rising to the occasion, sometimes the temptation might be to simply think of dramatic lifetime encounters where the faith is really on the line. Think about Martin Luther before the Catholic Church when they were threatening to kill him because of his stand for truth.

Yes, he rose to the occasion at that point in his life. But beloved, if you only think about it in those kinds of lofty, extraordinary terms that historians still write about 500 years later, I'm afraid that that would make the whole process of rising to the occasion and overcoming the world far too distant and make it seem like there's not a daily application or a daily encouragement for your own heart here. Listen, in the mind of God, in the omniscient understanding of God, as the one who looks not as man sees on the outer appearance, but one who looks on the heart, you rise to the occasion when you trust God and refuse to fear the future. You say, God, for your sake alone, this is my heart. As you contemplate about how to cultivate peace in the midst of a fallen world, you have to look beyond the circumstances that weigh on you and speak to your heart and preach to yourself in a way that says, you know what, my Heavenly Father loves me.

He knows what I need before I ask. He's in control and therefore I will not allow my heart to yield to fear, anxiety, or discouragement no matter how bad this trial gets. That's rising to the occasion. That is a life that glorifies God.

That is supernatural. As I've said in the past, beloved, you don't have to be a Christian to rejoice and be content when circumstances are good. The challenge for each one of us is when the circumstances go absolutely opposite of what we want, then what kind of Christian are you then? What I want for you in Grace Life is to say, I'm there, or when that comes, I'm going to be the same kind of joyful, obedient Christian in the midst of that trial as I am when things are the way I want them. That's the standard that Christ calls us to, that the Bible calls us to. That is a standard that is worthy of the one who died for your sins.

Point number three. Ultimately, you rise to the occasion when you rest in the overcomer. Look at verse 33 again. Jesus says, In the world you have tribulation, but take courage. I have overcome the world. Jesus ties your ability to take courage in the midst of your tribulations to the fact that He Himself has overcome the world.

Now, think with me for a moment. People outside the circle of the disciples would look at the cross of Christ and see nothing but total defeat. The cross was an instrument of shame. It was an instrument of judgment.

It was an instrument of total humiliation. And here is Jesus about to go to the cross. And Jesus sees it as His complete victory over all that the world can do to Him. He goes to the cross, not in gloom, but as a conqueror.

He goes to capital punishment at the hands of pagans whom He created. And He says, I go and triumph. I have overcome the world.

How could He say that? How could anyone in their right mind say that they had overcome the world when they were on the verge of crucifixion? How could Jesus say that He had overcome the world when He had no wealth, no status? One of His own disciples betrayed Him to the authorities.

His closest friends would soon abandon Him and leave Him alone. And yet, here is this Son of God in full possession of His faculties saying, I have overcome the world. At one level, we could look at that and say, Jesus doesn't look like a world-beater. He certainly would not meet any worldly definition of success at this point in His life. Ragtag bunch of 11 people around Him, and even they're about to leave Him.

What is this? But maybe, beloved, maybe we have our definitions all wrong. Maybe we don't understand the way Jesus did what it means to overcome the world.

Maybe we define it too much in the external trappings of success. Because when you think about the life of Jesus from a biblical, spiritual sense, you see it differently. Because even though the fury of hell had been unleashed against Him, Jesus did not flinch from obedience to His Father. He always spoke the truth, even though it cost Him His life.

He did not return evil for evil, but He gave a blessing instead. He loved those who were His own with perfect faithfulness unto the end. You look at the life of Jesus and you say, where is the selfishness of His Spirit? Where was His sinful anger? When did He not manifest perfect self-control even in the face of provocation? Where was Jesus ever afraid of man? When did He protect His own interests? When did He run from danger?

Where was His fear of death? And ultimately, as He bore the sins of those who would ever believe in Him on the cross, He defeated death itself. Did He overcome the world?

Absolutely. In a way that no one before or no one since ever has, He stands alone in unparalleled glory. Jesus comes to His disciples and says, you can take courage because I have overcome the world. He ties your ability to overcome to the fact that He has already done it.

He says, you belong to Me. My victory I share with you. The same power which dwelt in Christ now dwells in you. But what is more, you can rest in even more knowing that Christ plans to share His victory with you forever. John 14 verse 2, Jesus said, in My Father's house are many dwelling places.

If it were not so, I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself that where I am, there you may be also. In the dwelling places of heaven, in that place where Jesus has prepared, your final overcoming of the world will be made complete. You will be where He is in the place that He prepared for you, and you will be there with Him forever. You have Christ's power now as a believer in Christ. You will share His heavenly glory in the future. Beloved, when we talk about enduring peace in the midst of a fallen world, let that bring unconquerable peace to your soul.

That's Don Green with part two of a message called Three Keys to Enduring Peace here on The Truth Pulpit. Next time, we'll begin talking about the subject of planning. What does biblical planning look like? Well, Don, the old joke goes something like this, if you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans. But there is such a thing as a proper God-honoring plan, isn't there?

We'll have so much more to say about this tomorrow, Bill, but I just want to emphasize two things for now. My friend, Scripture commends a responsible approach to life that makes provision for an uncertain future. You need to plan for what lies ahead. But the even bigger issue is whether you're planning for your ultimate appointment with an eternal God. Christian and non-Christian friend alike, you're going to give an account to Him.

Have you factored that into the way that you live? May God show mercy to you as we study tomorrow. Bill has something to help you plan for our next program. Well, friend, we invite you to visit us at There you can grab today's program to hear again on your MP3 player. And there's much more, all at Thanks for joining us today. I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time, when Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word, here on The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-06 23:23:08 / 2022-12-06 23:32:14 / 9

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