Aug. 2, 2018

The God of peace be with you all

Romans 15:23-16:9 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you 24 whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while— 25 but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. 28 Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

30 Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints; 32 so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

16 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.


In John 14:27 Jesus says:   “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”   In today’s text, Paul gives us an indication of the way that the peace of the Lord is different than the peace we could know from the world. Paul says:  Now the God of peace be with you all.   The peace of God is not a thing to be desired or strived for. He is the God of peace. He is Jehovah Shalom. Paul’s wording is better than what some would say, “may the peace of God be with you.” The peace of God comes from the presence of God. Psalm 91:1-7 says:  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you.
   The peace of God comes to the one who dwells and abides in His presence.

The peace that the world tries to give, peace that is a thing,  is temporary. The world tries to offer peace from our problems. We are encouraged to get our peace through self satisfaction; to take a break, to take a vacation, to take a drink or a pill. The truth is though that our circumstances don’t change with the world’s method of peace. We may make it through one circumstance or situation, but surely another will come. In Matthew 6:34 Jesus says:  “Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Every day will bring circumstances or situations into our lives to take our peace. What is Jesus answer, the way to peace? In verse 33 He says:  “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”   To truly have peace, regardless of the troubles life brings, we need to know the God of peace, we need to seek Him and to abide and dwell with Him. If we know Jehovah Shalom, if we abide and dwell in His presence, if we walk with Him, then nothing the world or anyone in it can bring against us can take our peace. The psalmist says:  In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Psalm 56:11) He says:  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me. (Psalm 23:4)  When God is with us, when we have the peace of His abiding presence, no one and nothing, not even death can take our peace from us. In Philippians 4:5-7 Paul says:  The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.    The peace of God surpasses, is beyond all comprehension. It is not a thing, but rather it is part of the character of the infinite, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, all powerful, all loving God. In Romans 8:35-39 Paul says:  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Any or all of these things may come, they may be the troubles that today or tomorrow brings. But, if we know God, if we seek Him and abide in His presence, if we walk with Him, we will have peace.   

Jesus says:   “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”   Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit.  Now the God of peace be with you all, and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   Amen.