Notes on Christian Warfare (20)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

The way, the truth and the life!

The Grace of Peace  (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

Peace is a spiritual and gracious gift of God (Galatians 5:22). It is that grace gift that guards and keeps our hearts immovable in Christ Jesus. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7); “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4). It is a supernatural peace, it is of God and so the devil cannot move us from our gospel stance and Christian practice. The guard spoken of here in Philippians is akin to a sentinel, a soldier on guard duty. God’s peace is that soldier guarding and keeping our hearts. So we can’t be moved from the basis, the foundation of our peace, i.e., the gospel. We cannot be kept from expressing the gospel or our worship of God in our daily lives. O the enemy may try. But that’s why daily we need to dawn the whole armour of God. If our peace goes we become restless, physically, mentally and emotionally. It is then we begin to drive ourselves, seeking to work more and feeling like we’ll never succeed. Then we become tired and weary and sad. Driven by the devil and not led by Jesus. We know nothing of the quiet and confidence that the prophet speaks of, “For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “in returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15-16). But when we get ourselves into trouble and our peace is disturbed the answer is the same as before. It wasn’t works that got us right with and at peace with God, to begin with, it was faith, it was trust. And that is still the answer, to trust, in the gospel of peace.

So the answer is not our striving but rather to learn to be still, to cease from our own works. A renewed awareness of God (Psalm 46:10). For he hasn’t moved, he is still there, still with you. Did he not promise that very thing? Sometimes we get to running around like headless chickens, almost as though the whole cause of God, including our own salvation, will all collapse if we’re not doing. God is in control, we live and work under his orders. So we can rest, we can let the peace of God rule our hearts, let them return to their rest, to the God of peace. Because God will not fail us, he has promised. We have a covenant signed and sealed with the blood of his Son. It is an inviolable and unbreakable covenant. And part of that covenant package is peace, “peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).  He assures us that he has prepared the way, “I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3). It is only when we begin to forget the facts of the gospel that we lose our peace. That peace is a confidence in what God has done. If we are not at peace that is saying we are not trusting, simple. But we are given a good prescription for peace (Philippians 4:4-7, 10-13). But our gospel peace must be thought of in the context of the spiritual warfare and service we have been called up to. The peace is promised in the midst of the battle, not out of it. If you have disengaged yourself from the war, sought terms of peace with the enemy. If you have become a spectator of the battle scene, then no wonder if you have no peace. This is one way the devil will give you peace, quit the fight, compromise, he’ll leave you alone, for sure. But we don’t want the devil’s peace, we want God’s peace, yes?

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
Sermon Audio

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