Series: The Kingdom of God; Peace
Sunday 26th June 2016 – Kobus Swart
Rom. 14:17; Isa. 9:7; Matt. 21:42-44; 1 Pet. 2:9; Hag. 2:9; (Mark 4:36-38); (Ps. 46:10); (Col. 3:15 Amp); (Prov. 16:3); (Gen. 16:11); (Matt. 6:9-10); Eph. 4:1-5; Matt. 5:9; (Isa. 9:6)
This morning I am going to highlight a specific aspect of the kingdom which we all know, but the question is how deep do we know it and how much are we walking in it? For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). I am going to look specifically into the aspect of peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government (which means it will be forever increasing) or of peace, on the throne of David and over is kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this (Isa. 9:7). Wherever it speaks of the kingdom of God, interwoven you see righteousness, peace and joy.
We cannot afford to overlook the following words from Jesus: “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; This came about from the Lord, And it is marvellous in our eyes’? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you (natural Israel) and given to a people producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone (Jesus) will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust” (Matt. 21:42-44). The nation to whom it will be given refers to the Holy Nation according to 1 Peter 2:9. The fruit of the kingdom includes righteousness, peace and joy. In any nation where law and order collapse, peace is gone. Where a government is corrupt and collapses, there is no peace, no righteousness and no joy. Haggai 2 talks about the house of God. We need to see the corporate house of God not just our panelled houses (Hag. 2:9). The characteristic to highlight in the end time Church is peace. It should emanate from the latter house.
Peace is an inside job. It starts deep on the inside. The ocean can have great storms on the surface, but a few meters down you can have the calm of a pond. The storm will not go deeper. There you have calm and peace in spite of the most vicious gale winds on the surface. That is where you and I should be. On the inside we should have peace. Life is full of storms, financial storms, relationship storms, you name it, but if we do not have inner peace it can affect our health and will affect our mind. We all experience stress to some degree or another. Not all stress is bad but we need to understand the importance of having inner peace. One of the reasons why God allows storms in our life is to drive us deeper into Him where the calm and the peace are. While everyone was stressing in the storm Jesus was fast asleep in the boat (Mark 4:36-38). Can we stand up in the midst of a storm and say, “Peace, be still”? When Jesus saw the storm, He greeted it, “Shalom!” and it went quiet. You can only sleep in the storm that you rule over. We have to see the fruit of the kingdom, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). That is where peace is rooted, in the knowledge that He is God and we are in His hands.
To get inner peace we often have to “reboot” our mind. Clean out the mess, clean out the wrong memory of things. Memories are powerful, they make you react a certain way in certain situations. We have been programmed to react a certain way. Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always] (Col. 3:15 Amp). The war is in our soul. If we can rise above that and find peace, we will have a different life and health.
Daniel prayed for twenty-one days before the answer came. The moment he prayed the answer was released, but there was angelic interference. That is why we must persist, but with peace on the inside knowing that God has heard our prayer. If we do not have peace, it affects the way we believe. Peace will rule in your heart and mind and in your soul there will be harmony. Jesus prayed, Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9-10). So if you pray, “Thy kingdom come” you are actually praying for the fruit of the kingdom to come as well; righteousness, peace and joy. Unless you see the fruit, something is missing. The underlying prayer of the kingdom is for the kingdom to come on the earth because the earth is the Lord’s. But what are we seeing on earth? Do you see peace?
Start first with yourself; do you have inner peace? The wider perspective is for the kingdom to come on earth. What about the Body of Christ? Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:1-3). In this Body of Christ, forget the labels and doctrinal differences, what is our mandate and commissioning? To be diligent to preserve the unity in the bond of peace! Is this why everything is on hold? We are not living in peace with other members of the Body of Christ. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:4-5). In every town and city, the Church of Jesus Christ, regardless of label, should find a way to live in peace with one another. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God (Matt. 5:9).
Jesus did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matt. 10:34) yet one of the names of Jesus is “Prince of Peace.” How do you bring that together with this verse? He was talking to the religious world that surrounded Him. There is no compromise; it is not a false peace; He had to confront the religious order of the day. He did not come to bring peace on that level. Peace is not the absence of conflict, but it is the presence of justice (Martin Luther King Jnr). Where true justice prevails, there will be true peace because Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6).
Are you a true peacemaker? Or are you a trouble maker? Unity does not mean conformity. God loves variety. There can be unity in the midst of variety and different expressions but all loving King Jesus Himself and living in the bond of peace. Be peacemakers!