Back in 2007 Garfield Christian Fellowship began a journey. We began to realize that there was little peace living within the family of GCF. We realized that our understanding of peace, as Jesus describes it, did not really exist in our midst.
John 14:27 "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don't be troubled or afraid.
Looking for answers to “real peace” as Jesus describes we found the book by Ken Sande, “The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict.” © 2004, Baker Books. Everything that will be shared over the next 6 or so weeks can be found in this book and the small group study that is used with the book.
The purpose of this study is to inspire believers to see God’s priority and passion for peace, and to firmly establish the Gospel of Christ, the Rule and Reign of Jesus, as the foundation of real peace (Ken Sande, sermon notes 2004).
People are hungry for peace!
As I was preparing to review peacemaking in 2012 and again today 2020, I went to Google to see how many times the word “peace” is used to reference articles on the internet. To my surprise, Google reported 227,263,000 cites related to peace in 2012 and today there are 1,520,000,000 pages one could sift through to search out peace. I narrowed the search to “peace of heart” and found 899,000,000 results. People are hungry for peace!
In our fractured world today so much blame is cast on people groups for not bringing peace: the conservative is blamed because they have not conserved anything and the liberal is blamed because they haven’t liberated anything. When in fact there is no person or people group that could produce peace, at least not “real peace.” Peoples approaches to real peace are described all too well by God’s charge in
Jeremiah 6:14 They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, 'Peace, peace!' When there is no peace.
Fortunately, we don’t need to sort through 1.5 billion pages on the internet to find the path to real peace. Through God’s Holy Scripture, He has graciously and repeatedly described the one and only path to genuine, lasting peace. Let’s define “real peace” from a biblical perspective, since what man has tried to do over the centuries has not worked. Peace is a word with several different meanings in the Old and New Testaments.
In the New Testament, peace often refers to the inner tranquility and calm composure of the Christian whose trust is in God through Christ. This understanding was originally expressed in the Old Testament writings about the coming Messiah (Isaiah 9:6-7). The peace that Christ Jesus spoke of was a combination of hope, trust, and quiet in the mind and soul, brought about by reconciliation with God.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Real peace is brought about by reconciliation with God, through Christ Jesus. Real peace is inner transformation before it is an outward realization. Real peace is the work of Truth, Christ Jesus, in our lives.
Such peace was proclaimed by the host of angels at Christ's birth
Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."
Such peace was proclaimed by Jesus Himself in His Sermon on the Mount and during His ministry.
Matthew 5:9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
Jesus also taught about this kind of peace at the Lord's Supper, shortly before His death
John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don't be troubled or afraid.”
The apostle Paul later wrote that such peace and spiritual blessedness was a direct result of faith in Christ
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
The pathway to real peace is beautifully described in our text for the next several weeks
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see– such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So, he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross.
In this passage, God provides a robust, promising, and exhilarating formula for real peace than do all the millions of articles, speeches, and books written by people since the world began. God’s answer to our insatiable hunger for peace may be summarized in five key principles.