Let us pray: Dear Lord Christ, thank You for sending us the Holy Spirit! Thank You for not leaving us to fend for ourselves, but sending us the heavenly Counselor, the Comforter of our souls. And thank You for having Him transfer to us personally the peace that You won for us on the cross. Armed with such eternal peace we can all rest with an untroubled conscience. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT, YOUR COMFORTER!
TEXT: John 14: 25-27
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
Do you know what MAD stands for? And no, I’m talking about someone getting angry with another person! MAD stands for “Mutually Assured Destruction.” It was coined during the height of the Cold War between America and the old Soviet Union. Both countries had enough nuclear firepower to destroy each other. The thought was that such deadly destruction would check-mate each country’s ability and will to use that firepower. And so, “peace” was achieved from the 1950’s to the early 1990’s through MAD.
Of course, such human peace really was a lie. Maybe we didn’t destroy the earth through nuclear holocaust, but we did combat each other in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, in Latin America, Africa, and other places too numerous to mention. Was the world at “peace” during those times? Some policy wonk might say “Yes!” But try telling that to those who lost loved ones in these “peaceful” conflicts. The moral to the story is: human peace is a dream, an impossible dream. War stems from a lust for power. And power stems from a sin sickened heart. Unless and until human hearts are changed, there will be no peace.
This past Thursday, the headline in the “Boston Globe” read: “Peace Pledges in the Mideast.” Surely everyone wants such peace. We all hope it will pan out. Nonetheless, the history of the world teaches us that it is a chimera—a false dream. It may be here today, but it will be gone tomorrow.
Today you have come to church because you desire real peace, peace that is lasting, peace in which the rug won’t be pulled out from under you. And on Pentecost, God directed such peace at each of us. And so today, I want to ponder:
PEOPLE PEACE VS. PENTECOST PEACE
As I looked over this little text, one line leaped out at me. It is where Christ says: “I do not give to you as the world gives.” That little line says it all. Just think about worldly peace. Every wants it. Countless people pray for it. Our political leaders spend huge amounts of money trying to achieve it. And yet, today the world is filled with violence and hate. WWI was going to be the war that ended all wars. And then came WWII. WWII was to forge a lasting peace in the world. But then came the Cold War. Now we’re in a war of terror—even though America’s greatest enemy, the former Soviet Union is no more. And when the war on terror is won, what will happen? I think you know the answer. Another enemy of peace will arise. As Scripture says—people long for: “Peace, peace, but there is no peace.”
So, too, in our own lives. Road rage lives on, not only in Massachusetts! Anger management classes are in vogue—some businesses even pay to send you to them. Domestic violence is a huge problem in our society. The divorce rate speaks volumes as to the lack of peace within marriages. Bullies still exist on the playgrounds of our schools. And stress leads to consciences at war with themselves. People peace is based on keeping the veneer of respectability. People peace is based on the threat of lawsuits. People peace can and is withdrawn in an instant—if we don’t get our way. So, isn’t it nice to know that when it comes to peace, Christ, Who cannot lie, promises: “I do not give to you as the world gives?”
Pentecost is often referred to as the “birthday of the Christian Church.” It took place 50 days after Easter. On that first Pentecost both the Father and the Son sent the 3rd Person of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, upon the disciples. He filled them with His power, His joy, His peace. He personally applied to each of them the peace with God that Christ had won on the cross. He inflamed their hearts so that they knew they were at peace with God. And let’s face it, if you’re at peace with God, doesn’t the silliness of this world fade in comparison?
Listen again to our text where Christ promises them all this. “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Here our Savior promises that the disciples, and by extension, us, will be under the influence of his peace. “Peace I leave with you.” This was Christ’s will, His testament, His living legacy of love to us. His soul He committed to His Father on the cross. His body He bequeathed to Joseph, who put it in his tomb. His clothes fell to the soldiers. His mother he left to the care of John. But what should He leave His disciples? He had no silver or gold. But He left them something infinitely better—His peace. For when you’re at peace with God sin doesn’t reign in you. And when sin doesn’t reign in you, you’ll be equipped to handle the ups and downs of life without falling apart or resorting to violence. Yes, He gave them and us His love, His compassion, His sense of perspective, His peace. All this is ours because the Spirit has worked faith, confidence, and trust in our hearts. All peace is based on faith. And when that faith is a God-given gift, the peace that it brings will not and cannot fail.
People Peace Vs. Pentecost Peace, which would you rather have? Which is more lasting? Which is more valuable? Well, you know the answer. In fact, that’s really why you’ve come today—to celebrate the gift of the Spirit and the peace that He brings! So, go forth this week in confidence and joy knowing that you’re at peace with God….Amen