Things Jesus Never Said
“There Will Never Be World Peace!"
I love to hear people quote the words of Jesus! However, sometimes they may quote it wrong or conveniently live their lives ignoring some important teaching Christ laid out for us. Today we present Part 8 of our Sermon Series “Things Jesus Never Said: “There Will Never Be World Peace.”
What is the definition of Peace? According to a dictionary definition: it is freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility - freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.
World peace to most people would mean no major wars or conflicts that the U.S.A. is involved in. Or perhaps, no wars even between any nations. It would mean people getting along – all the time! What a dream!
Linda Thompson together with then husband, famous composer David Foster wrote a song called, “My Grown-up Christmas List” which I believe sums up most people’s concept of “world peace.” The lyrics go like this:
Do you remember me- I sat upon your knee- I wrote to you with childhood fantasies
Well I'm all grown up now- And still need help somehow- I'm not a child but my heart still can dream.
So here's my lifelong wish- My grown up Christmas list- Not for myself but for a world in need
No more lives torn apart- That wars would never start- And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend- And right would always win- And love would never end, no
This is my grown up Christmas list.
Wow – wouldn’t that be great? If that list could be a reality? That sounds like world peace! But in reality, it’s just not possible.
Let’s get a perspective on three basic realms of peace!
Realm #1: Global Peace
John 16:33 - “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
In Matthew 24, Jesus gives a very long and descriptive narrative on future events. Let me just read a sample for you …
Matthew 24:6-7: “And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.”
In this chapter-long discourse (Matthew 24) Jesus describes events that would hardly be indicative of “world peace.”
Actually, there will only be world peace when the end of this world as we know it, comes. And only following the judgement and even then, only a few will experience it. It all starts with your own individual peace.
We will revisit this in a few minutes. But first let’s explore another realm of peace…
Realm #2: Peace of Mind (Inside your soul)
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.
Philippians 4:4-9 – “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Realm #3: Peace where you live (your external reality).
One thing that most people are fully aware of on an ongoing basis. We live in a world of turmoil all around us. From relationships to job situations to financial situations to road rage we see the opposite of peace. Selfishness, rebellion and an unwillingness to allow the mind and heart of God to live in and through individuals continually feeds this realm. However, in the midst of it all, we can have peace. It is a peace that the world cannot comprehend.
Here’s an important question. Can you influence the world around you to experience the same peace you have? Is the peace you have experienced through Christ desirable to others?
Psalm 133 (NLT) – “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! 2 For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. 3 Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.”
Do your personal characteristics cause others to seek your Giver of Peace? Jesus said in Matthew 5:9 during the Sermon on the Mount – “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
Are you at peace today?
Let’s put the lid on the reality and finality of World Peace… When will it finally come?
John in the Revelation he received from God talks about the Second Death. Truly understanding the first birth, first death, second birth, second death is key to you getting to experience world peace.
First Birth – You are physically born into this world. Created by God, for a relationship with Him.
Eph. 2:10 - For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Psalm 139:13 - You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.
First Death – Dead in Sin - Because of Sin we die physically - WE blew it!
Ephesians 2:1-3 - Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.[a] He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
Second Birth – Born Again - We have a second birth which is ultimately important!
John 3:5-7 - 5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’
I Corinthians 15:22 - Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.
Second Death – Physical Death – Yes, we will all die physically. John, in Revelation 21:8 calls the second death the time when our bodies, because of sin, will be cast into the Lake of Fire - that is the destiny of "sin" - permanent separation from God.
Technically our physical bodies will cease to exist. But the condition of your soul when you die determines whether or not you will experience peace – eternally.
Revelation 12:10-11 - Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them
before our God day and night. 11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
Revelation 2:10 - Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.
Revelation 21:1-8 – “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.[a] 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” 5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” 6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. 8 “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Any power the second death has, only applies to those who are not in Christ. Rev. 20:11-15 tells the story!
Revelation 20:11-15 - ”And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave[b] gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15 And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
When everything has been completed… and everyone is where they chose to be, then there will be World Peace!
Will you experience Peace in your World - because the second death has no power over you? Is your name in the Book of Life?
Things Jesus Never Said
Part 7: “Life is going to be easy.”
I love to hear people quote the words of Jesus! However, sometimes they may quote it wrong or conveniently live their lives ignoring some important teaching Christ laid out for us. Today we present Part 7 of our Sermon Series “Things Jesus Never Said: “Life is going to be easy.”
John 16:33 - 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Jesus had the unique ability to lay out some extremely difficult news relating to our earthly life. However, He also had the unique ability to provide means to not only survive, but thrive. Consider some more of His words relating to earthly struggle:
Matthew 11:28-30 - 28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Jesus acknowledges the existence of burdens, but He says rest will come… But he attaches an interesting caveat. In conjunction with his providing rest for you while carrying your heavy burdens, he commands us to take on His yoke. Even with the word “yoke” comes some serious concerns for many people. How can Christ provide rest if He saddles me with additional “Yokeage?”
His suggestion that his “yoke is easy and his burden light,” seldom presents an optimistic proposition for most.
Let’s break down the concept of a “yoke” and consider the meaning of the word “burden” for a moment.
“Yoke” - a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull or a frame fitting over the neck and shoulders of a person, used for carrying pails or baskets. – thereby this definition: used of something that is regarded as oppressive or burdensome.
“Burden” – a load – especially a heavy one!
So… Christ tells us take his yoke and put it on! Is He serious? And if so and I do buy into that – what makes his yoke easy? And why is his burden light when the very definition of a “burden” is a heavy load?
We as human beings are all about; “what’s in it for me?” If I put forth the effort, what do I get out of it? What is our “reward?”
A Worship Song by Hillsong that we frequently sing here at Legacy Church says this:
Christ is my reward, And all of my devotion, Now there's nothing in this world, That could ever satisfy, Through every trial, My soul will sing, No turning back, I've been set free… Christ is enough for me, Christ is enough for me, Everything I need is in You, Everything I need!
That’s it! That’s the big one! Your reward for putting on the Yoke of Christ? Your reward for taking on His burdens? It’s Him! It’s Christ! He is the reward!
One the members of my sermon focus group, Ron, remembers back 60+ years ago, spending time with his grandfather during the summer. It was time to work in the field and grandpa didn’t have horses or mules, so he put a yoke, cushioned with pillows, on Ron & his twin brother Roger – so they could pull the farm machinery! And you know what? It worked! They got a lot done – that is, as long as they pulled together and in the same direction!
The problem with so many of us today, is that we are supposed to, while yoked with Christ, pull with Him in the same direction.
Too many of us though, refuse to stay in lockstep with Him – we don’t want to work in the same direction as HE has for us!
When either Ron or Roger would decide they want to slack off or pull in a different direction than the prescribed plan – things would get messed up. The work wouldn’t get done, they got mad at each other and at the boss (grandpa) and chaos prevailed. When Ron & Roger agreed to work together, the work got done and there was time for other things – perhaps activities a little more enjoyable.
So many people think that when they believe in Jesus and become a follower of His things will be easier. Actually, when we follow Christ, it means we have go in the same direction as He is going – and that sometimes we just don’t want to! When we “yoke” ourselves with Christ – He is our reward, however if we try to be yoked with the world too, that is true chaos.
2 Corinthians 6:14 (NIV) – “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Are you in step with the Master? Are you equally “yoked” with Christ? Are you “yoked” with the World yet trying to follow Christ? Simply put – it won’t work!
How do you get back into “lockstep” with Christ? Back equally yoked? Let’s get the formula from the disciple whom Jesus loved – from the disciple to whom Jesus gave care of his own mother Mary.
I John 1:5-10 - 5 This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
Okay – one more hint to walking with God! You must be humble. In order to walk in step with Christ, equally yoked, under His burden – you must be humble! In our text Jesus tells us something very important – He said: “I will teach you how to do this – because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
In Jesus’ yoke, we stand under the bar of humility.
His yoke will bind you for eternity! (He has sealed you with the Holy Spirit for eternity)
His yoke will balance you.
His yoke will keep you going in the right direction.
His yoke will stop you when you need to be stopped.
His yoke will propel you on when you need to be encouraged to keep going.
Does God view us as mature partners under His yoke? Or, does He view us as 2 & 3 year old’s – always going off in our own direction at the whim of our sin nature? As He views you live your life, is He constantly having to shake His head and say; “wow, I wish you would have listened to me – I wish you would have walked in step with me – but now I hope you will come to your senses and come back under my yoke – bear my burden – where it’s safe and you will find rest for your souls. It’s time to grow up my friends! Time to humble yourself before God and get ready to conquer the world in Jesus’ name!
Why is this so important? The old hymn writer, Johnson Oatman Jr. said it quite eloquently in 1908
1. If thou wouldst have the dear Savior from heaven
Walk by thy side from the morn till the even,
There is a rule that each day you must follow:
Humble thyself to walk with God.
Humble thyself and the Lord will draw near thee,
Humble thyself and His presence shall cheer thee;
He will not walk with the proud or the scornful,
Humble thyself to walk with God.
2. Just as the Lord, in the world’s early ages,
Walked and communed with the prophets and sages,
He will come now if you meet the conditions:
Humble thyself to walk with God.
3. Just as the stream finds a bed that is lowly,
So Jesus walks with the pure and the holy;
Cast out thy pride, and in heartfelt contrition
Humble thyself to walk with God.
James 4:7-10 - 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
So, will life be easy? Define easy! Would you rather be miserable miserable or joyfully miserable – either way, you’ll have trials, you’ll be miserable – but trust me – it’s so much better to be joyfully miserable than to be miserable miserable!
Pray for His yoke – pray for His burden to be upon you today!
Closing Prayer – Thank you God for my yoke – help me be yoked with you, help me carry your burdens, help me find rest for my soul.
Take away: God never promised us an easy life, he only promised that he would be there.
Things Jesus Never Said: Part 5
“I can’t handle your situation.”
I love to hear people quote the words of Jesus! However, sometimes they may quote it wrong or conveniently live their lives ignoring some important teaching Christ laid out for us. Today we present Part 5 of our Sermon Series “Things Jesus Never Said: “I can’t handle your situation.”
Let me ask you a question - What does it mean for a “situation” to be handled? Does it mean this situation has to improve? Go away? Be solved? Be resolved? Or… does it mean you can not just survive the situation, but thrive even if it continues or even worsens?
When asked, “how are you doing?” and the response being; “well, under the circumstances…” - I once heard someone say; “well, what are you doing under there?”
Just what is your situation today? Are you “under” it? Are you muddling through it? Does it have you pinned down? Does it have you devastated? Does it have you wounded? Does it seem insurmountable? Do you feel that God can’t handle your situation and that things will never improve?
If you’re human, you have or have had feelings of despair – even hopelessness. I want to assure you, based on the Word of God, that He can handle your situation and you can flourish - thrive in spite of anything this world can dish out.
How is this possible? It involves perspective, understanding and divine involvement.
John 9:1-7: As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” 3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. 4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us.[a] The night is coming, and then no one can work. 5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. 7 He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!
It was a commonly held belief during that time period that people had sickness or birth defects, etc. because of sin. Some people believe that even today. But as this story unfolded, we see Jesus’ explanation of this man’s “situation.”
Watch THIS VIDEO!
Why can God handle our situations? Let’s check with Paul.
Romans 8:16-28 - 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. 18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,[j] including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) 26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Let me emphasize a few things from this passage. In this last verse, Paul gives us the most important perspective to trust God to handle our situation.
God works in everything… for our good! Obviously not all that happens to us is “good!” This promise enables us to not only let God handle every situation, but to be able to know and quite possibly see the long-range good these difficult situation will bring us.
It is not God’s purpose to make us happy, but rather to fulfill His purpose in us!
That my friends, is called “handling” the situation.
Think about a situation past or present in your life for a moment. Do you believe Jesus has the power to see you through it? Let’s put ourselves in the blind man’s place for just a moment. This Jewish carpenter’s son, referred by the guys hanging out with him as “Rabbi” or “Teacher,” SPITS. His spittle lands in the dirt. Consider the thought process that immediately forms inside the brain of the man. Spitting is normally an act of repulsion. To add to it, this ordinary looking man reaches down mixes the spit with the dust and scoops up the mud and promptly smears it on the blind man’s eyes! Wow – self-esteem issues anyone? As if the blind man hadn’t been ridiculed because his condition, passed over – given to a life of being abnormal – and now your eyes are covered in spit/dust-made mud!
So, Jesus then tells you to go wash it off – of course you’re going to wash it off. But then what? You’ve already heard that you’re blind so God can get glory… did He get glory from the embarrassing mud incident? But wait – as the caked on spit-dust mud begins to dissolve – light begins to flicker and images take shape – something you’ve never ever experienced before – and you can see!
Can Jesus handle your situation? If you believe He can, will you let Him? Will you trust Him even if your situation isn’t resolved the way you would like it to be? Jesus has a constant supply of “mud” waiting to use – to bring glory to God – in your situation. What if the blind man, repulsed by the spit/dirt mud would have failed to obey Christ’s instructions, scraped the mud away or asked for some water from another source to wash away what he viewed as “smelly, gag-producing” mud?
God supplies a mud-pack for every situation in our life. How many of us struggle in our situations, the mud-pack immediately accessible – or even more, having had the mud-pack applied and we just don’t follow through with complete trust and obedience and go wash it off?
Let’s take this trust in God to handle our situations to the deepest level! Your exponential growth in your ability to do this will mark your progress as a follower of Jesus Christ!
There is an old song by Lizz Wright that goes like this:
Have you any rivers that seem uncrossable?
And have you any mountain that you cannot tunnel through?
God specializes in things thought impossible
And He will do what no other no other power but holy power can do
When your body is full of disease - And your medicines - don't give you no ease
God specializes, Yeah, God specializes
Are you friendless and in despair? And nobody, nobody, nobody - Nobody seems to care - God specializes - Oh, He'll be right there – God specializes, Yeah, God specializes!
1 Corinthians 3 - Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. 2 I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, 3 for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? 4 When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? 5 After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. 6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. 10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.
16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” 20 And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.” 21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter,[f] or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
You belong to Christ & Christ belongs to God. Still think He can’t handle your situation? Let’s encourage one another to remember whose child we actually are – then act like it – every situation!