The Gift of Peace
“You might not know the name Angelo Dundee, but you've undoubtedly heard of Muhammad Ali, probably the most famous professional boxer of all time. For more than two decades, Angelo Dundee was in Muhammad Ali's corner, literally. He was Ali's cornerman! He's the one who made Ali float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He also trained fifteen other world boxing champions. Angelo Dundee described his job as a cornerman this way: ‘When you're working with a fighter, you're a surgeon, an engineer, and a psychologist.’
As followers of Jesus Christ, we have something even better than a surgeon-engineer-psychologist in our corner—the Holy Spirit.
Mark Batterson, If (Baker Books, 2015), page 249.
The corner man for a boxer probably helps to provide motivation and peace when needed.
The Holy Spirit provides those same things for believers and so much more!
Meeting Muhammad Ali
In the mid 90’s I worked for a mortgage corporation in Hollywood, FL
In the basement of the building I worked in, Angelo Dundee was still training boxers
One day, while I was working, I noticed that a crowd of people were gathering at the restaurant in the center courtyard of the two buildings
When I asked a fellow colleague what was happening, she said matter-of-factly, “Oh, Muhammad Ali is visiting his former coach, Dundee.”
I said, “really?”
She said, “Yes, if you go down there you can get his autograph.”
So, I went down there and got Muhammad Ali’s autograph and shook his hand
Here is a scanned image of his autograph [show the image]
Looking for a lost item
There have been times in my life when I have misplaced something I need
I get really frustrated and rush around the house trying to find the item and blaming others for moving it from its normal place
Most of the time I get more and more upset, frustrated, and angry
I’m definitely not experiencing peace at that moment
While it’s one of the hardest thing to do, even though it shouldn’t be, I eventually stop looking for the item and begin to pray
Most of the time when I stop, pray, and listen, the Lord reminds me, where I put the item after the last time I used it
No one else had moved it from its normal place, because I had failed to return it to its normal place
When I stop, pray, and listen, then I’m able to experience peace
Ultimate peace comes when I finally find the item I’ve been looking for
Looking for a lost item
Perhaps every one of us have experienced looking for an item that we can’t find
We understand the frustration and anger that builds as each passing minute goes by
We only experience peace and rest when the item is found
Anxiety and depression
I’ve never really struggled with anxiety and depression, though I’ve had family members and friends who have
Many of those individuals only found peace when they sought the Lord through prayer, quoting Scripture, singing hymns or worship songs, and/or reading and studying the Bible
While that may sound simplistic, it’s not easy to do when you’re struggling with anxiety and depression
For many people, they have to continue to do those things every time their feeling anxious or down
The disciples were experiencing fear and anxiety as they struggled with Jesus’ continued references to leaving. Jesus’ verbal encouragement, that He would not leave them as orphans, didn’t seem to appease their fears and anxiety. The disciples were struggling with focusing too much on themselves and their needs, instead of what Jesus was trying to tell them. He had promised to provide another Counselor for them that would be with them forever. This Counselor would teach them all things and remind them of everything that Jesus had said to them, while on earth. Jesus was going to the Father where He would intercede for them. What Jesus wanted His disciples to understand is that . . .
BIG IDEA – Peace comes from having “the Spirit within us, the Saviour above us, and the Word before us!” [Warren Wiersbe]
The same is true for us as disciples of Jesus Christ. We can have peace, knowing that the Holy Spirit lives in us, that Jesus is interceding for us before the Father, and that we have God’s Word before us.
GOD (John 14:25-31)
Spirit Within Us (vv. 25-26a)
Jesus told His disciples all of these things while He was still with them
As was mentioned last week, the commands of Jesus were not just a list of do’s and don’ts, but rather it was a lifestyle, modeled after Jesus’ life
It was the complete revelation of God through Jesus
This was what Jesus was referring to here
It’s also important to look back at last week, because we learned that the Father would give the disciples the Holy Spirit to live within them and be with them forever (John 14:16-17)
Peace through loss
We know that the presence of the Holy Spirit within the disciples, from Pentecost on, gave them peace and confidence to accomplish the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and the Great Command (Matthew 22:37-40)
While they initially were anxious about Jesus leaving them, they found peace from having the Spirit within them
Every disciple of Jesus Christ can experience peace in loss, because the Holy Spirit lives in us
All of us have experienced loss during the Coronavirus
Loss of income/job
Loss of connection with other people
Loss of health
Loss of life (Maria and Earl passed away this past week)
Loss of sanity (especially those of us with children)
Loss of confidence in local, state, and federal leadership
Loss of peace in general
Our country is currently experiencing loss on a daily basis
Loss of life (George Floyd and others)
Loss of order (looting and rioting)
Loss of confidence in those sworn to serve and protect (though there are many who serve and protect well)
Loss of hope in the reconciliation of the races
We can experience peace through loss, because we have the Holy Spirit living in us
Perhaps you’re struggling, right now, with experiencing peace through loss
You don’t even know what to say to God – words allude you
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Roman believers, lets us know that the Holy Spirit living in us, knows just what to say
Romans 8:26-27, In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
What incredible hope, confidence, and peace this brings to those of us struggling with loss
Peace comes from having the Spirit within us, but it also comes from having the Word before us.
Word Before Us (vv. 26b-27)
Jesus was telling His disciples that the Holy Spirit was going to accomplish two specific things, as it pertains to His words – the Word of God (the Bible)
Teach them all things
The Holy Spirit wasn’t going to teach the disciples, or us, any new revelation
He was going to teach them what it meant
“The Spirit’s ministry in this respect was not to bring qualitatively new revelation, but to complete, to fill out, the revelation brought by Jesus himself.” [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 505]
“The inspiration of the Spirit, therefore, does not bring forward new revelations about Jesus, but simply gives correct applications and meanings for what he did in history.” [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 399]
PRINCIPLE #1 – Every disciple of Jesus has the Holy Spirit as their teacher.
This is a great principle and truth for us as disciples of Jesus
Many times we may discount the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to teach us the meaning and application of God’s Word
A lot of believers simply take what an evangelist, pastor, or Sunday school teacher says as law and never rely on the Holy Spirit to guide them and teach them on their own
Every one of us should be like the Bereans, Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Romans 7:11)
Don’t discount your ability to hear from the Lord through the Holy Spirit that lives within you
Every disciple of Jesus has the Holy Spirit as their teacher
My Next Step Today Is To: Claim the promise that, as a disciple of Jesus, I have the Holy Spirit as my teacher.
The Holy Spirit taught the disciples the meaning of everything that Jesus had taught them, as He reminded them of everything Jesus had said
Remind them of everything Jesus had said
That’s the second specific thing that the Holy Spirit does for every disciple
He reminds us of everything that Jesus has said
John 2:22, After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
How many of us have experienced the Holy Spirit reminding us of what Jesus has said?
The Holy Spirit may speak to us individually with a word of hope and encouragement when we are experiencing loss or feeling anxious and depressed
The Holy Spirit may use other believers who come along side of us in our loss, anxiety, and depression and they share a verse or passage of Scripture with us that encourages us
The Holy Spirit may use the DJ’s or a song on the Christian radio station at just the right time to remind us of Jesus’ words (on Air1 radio they have multiple people who share “39 Seconds of Hope”)
This was going to be an invaluable asset for the disciples as they carried out the Gospel mission that Jesus commissioned them to do
Matthew 28:18-20, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.”
The Holy Spirit was going to remind the disciples of everything Jesus had commanded them, so they could accomplish the Great Commission
The Holy Spirit does the same thing for us as disciples of Jesus Christ – He reminds us of everything that Jesus had commanded, so we can accomplish the Great Commission
The Holy Spirit empowers us to share the Gospel with those we come in contact with
What an incredible ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives – teaching us the correct application and meaning of Scripture and reminding us of Jesus’ words, so we can share it with others
When we have the Spirit in us and the Word before us, we can experience the peace of God
The gift of peace
Jesus left His peace with the disciples and us as a gift
The way Jesus establishes peace is completely different than how the world establishes peace
The world’s peace
For the world, peace means the absence of conflict
“The pax Romana (‘Roman peace’) was won and maintained by a brutal sword.” [Carson, 506]
Every President of the United States that I can remember has talked about bringing peace to the Middle East, but none have succeeded
In the United States we may think that there is peace between the various races, but the senseless taking of any life reminds us that there is not peace in race relations – there is still conflict, hostility, and racism in our culture (Read Galatians 3:26-29)
The prophet Jeremiah explains perfectly, why there is no peace in the world
Jeremiah 6:13-15, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have not shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the Lord.
Every one of us is greedy for gain
We have a desire to rule over others, to be better than others, to be in control of every situation, to oppress others so we can advance
The world will never experience true peace until we follow the example of Christ
Read Philippians 2:1-8
Are you lacking peace at home? (consider your spouse or children ahead of yourself, look to their interests too)
Are you lacking peace at work? (consider your boss or coworker ahead of yourself, look to their interests too)
Are you lacking peace in your neighborhood? (consider your neighbor ahead of yourself, look to their interests too)
Are you lacking peace at church? (consider fellow believers ahead of yourself, look to their interests too)
My Next Step Today Is To: Seek peace by considering others ahead of myself and looking to their interests too and not just my own interests.
While the world will never really experience peace, this side of heaven, disciples of Jesus Christ can experience peace even in the midst of conflict
Jesus peace didn’t come through a brutal sword
He didn’t kill the enemy in order to establish peace, He gave His life on the cross so that we could experience a greater peace – peace in the midst of conflict and persecution
PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus gives us peace in the midst of difficulty and conflict.
“As Jesus is about to remind his followers, the world hates them (15:18), and in this world they will face affliction (16:33). Rather than extracting them from danger (cf. 17:15), Jesus, through the Spirit he would send, offers his followers poise and resolve in the midst of discomfiting circumstances. As Jesus was about to demonstrate, his peace is not the absence of conditions that intimidate but rather is the composure to be faithful in the face of adversity.” [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 444]
Scriptures about this peace
Philippians 4:4-7, Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:15, Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Romans 5:1-2a, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
This is the ultimate peace that Jesus gives us
Romans 8:6-8, The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
Jesus gave His life on the cross, so that we could be made righteous in God’s eyes – so we could be at peace with God
Our natural state is rebellion against God
We’re at war with God, because we want our own way instead of His way
My Next Step Today Is To: Accept God’s gift of grace through faith in Jesus, so I can be at peace with God.
The peace that Jesus offers us is an eternal peace that helps us deal with loss and conflict here on earth – we don’t have to be afraid or let our hearts be troubled, because we can rest in Jesus’ peace
Peace comes from having the Spirit within us, the Word before us, and the Saviour above us!
Savior Above Us (vv. 28-31)
Jesus is leaving (vv. 28-29)
Jesus repeats a phrase He has already used with the disciples
Jesus was going to the cross and then to the right hand of the Father after His resurrection and ascension
He would be coming back to them immediately after the resurrection, but ultimately in His second coming
Jesus’ departure should make them glad
Jesus’ next statement reveals the fact the disciples are so focused on their needs and desires, that they cannot rejoice in God’s ultimate plan for salvation and the spread of the Gospel
The sense of loss they are experiencing and feeling, about Jesus leaving, is overshadowing everything else
If they truly loved Jesus they would be glad that He was returning to the Father
“If Jesus’ disciples truly loved him, they would be glad that he is returning to his Father, for he is returning to the sphere where he belongs, to the glory he had with the Father before the world began (17:5), to the place where the Father is undiminished in glory, unquestionably greater than the Son in his incarnate state.” [Carson, 508]
“When Jesus was here on earth, He was necessarily limited by having a human body. He voluntarily laid aside the independent exercise of His divine attributes and submitted to the Father.” [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament, Volume 1, 354]
They should be glad that Jesus is returning to the Father, because He would send the Holy Spirit to live in them and He would intercede for them at the right hand of the Father – they would have two Counselors (Advocates) working for them
Romans 8:34, Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Jesus tells them that He is returning to the Father, before it happens, so they will believe in Him after it happens
While Jesus leaving creates a sense of loss in the disciples, Satan’s coming will create conflict and persecution for them
Satan is coming (vv. 30-31)
Jesus is finishing His discourse with the disciples, because very soon He will be arrested, tried, convicted, and killed
The prince of this world is coming
Jesus is referring to Satan here
Satan was already in the world, but he was coming to play his part in redemption history
Satan had already entered Judas Iscariot, so that he would betray Jesus, as we’ll see in the coming weeks
It would take false witnesses, influenced by Satan, to convict Jesus
Matthew 26:59-61, The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
My guess is that, if Satan knew that God’s plan was, to have Jesus die as the perfect sacrifice for sin, that he wouldn’t have come – he wouldn’t have entered Judas and influenced the false witnesses
PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus is holy
Jesus’ holiness is evident in two ways
He was sinless
Satan had no hold on Jesus
“He then argues that although sin gives Satan his controlling power, he cannot control Jesus because ‘there is no sin in Jesus.’” [Morris cited by Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 135]
There was not foothold that Satan could use to gain access to Jesus’ life, because He was without sin
That’s why Jesus is the only One who could take our punishment for sin – He was sinless
Up until this time, the Jews had to sacrifice a perfect lamb, without blemish to cover over their sins – this was a continual ongoing necessity
When Jesus died on the cross it was, once for all, to take away our sins
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are in Christ, and the only way that Satan can get a foothold in our lives, is if we allow him to
Because we are not fully sanctified yet, we can still give controlling power to Satan by giving in to the temptations of sin
As humans we are still fallible – we will make mistakes – we will sin
1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Is there a sin that is currently giving Satan controlling power in your life?
Confess that the Lord right now
My Next Step Today Is To: Confess any sin that is giving Satan controlling power in my life.
Jesus’ holiness is evident through His sinless life, but also through His obedience to the Father
He was obedient
The world would learn about Jesus’ love for the Father and His perfect obedience to the commands of the Father through His disciples
As they, and we, obediently fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Command, the world will know all about Jesus
Time to leave
Jesus tells His disciples that it is time to leave
Did they leave the upper room or not?
John 18:1, When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it.
Because of this verse there are kinds of ideas about whether or not Jesus and the disciples left the upper room
Some believe that what we read in John 15-17 was shared in the upper room
Others believe Jesus shared it while they were on their way to olive grove
Since it is not stated clearly in Scripture and it’s not theologically important to the content of the text, we’ll just leave it ambiguous at this point
Have you claimed the promise that the Holy Spirit is your teacher?
Do you need to consider others ahead of yourself and look to their interests too instead of just your own interests, so there can be peace?
Are you at peace with God, through faith in Jesus Christ?
Is there any sin in your life that is giving Satan controlling power?
“In Worry Less, Live More, Robert J. Morgan illustrates the fact that many in society are very conscious of anxiety:
Amazon keeps track of your highlights. When e-book owners mark sentences, the online retailer knows and notes it. Recently Amazon released a list of the most popular passages in some of its bestselling books, such as The Hunger Games, the Harry Potter series, and Pride and Prejudice. Also released, the most highlighted passage in the Holy Bible. I expected America's favorite biblical portion to be John 3:16, Psalm 23, or the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. But, no, it was a less prominent text, but one that's striking a deep cord in today's worried world. It was Philippians 4:6-7:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Robert J. Morgan, Worry Less, Live More (Thomas Nelson, 2017), page xiii.