He is Our Peace

Lamplight  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus is our peace. Peace is a Person Peace has a Purpose Peace is our Mission

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Lamplight He is Our Peace
The sun is quickly setting as you enter into the darkened house. The only light you have in which to see is coming from the small clay lamp that you are holding. It gives just enough light for you to take your next step safely. While standing in the house, not knowing exactly where to go, your heightened senses pick up on the scratching that is coming from somewhere in the house. With your little light, you start making your way toward the sound. Through the archway you enter a room where a man sits hunched over a small table feverishly writing with several lamps scattered around the table and room. The man looks up from his parchment role, and you see the Apostle Paul with eyes full of concern.
You are drawn to the rest of him though as you see the tole that following Jesus has taken on him. His head had been recently shaved and faint deep bruises were slowly healing under his skin. His eye was still bloodshot and swollen from the recent punches he received, his hands were still bandages, and as he turned back to his letter, you notice that he is moving very gently and must have a fractured or broken rib.
Paul is under house arrest in the city of Rome awaiting his trial and had beaten on the Temple steps by religious leaders because had been falsely accused of bringing a non-Jewish man into the Temple where non-Jewish people were strictly forbidden to enter.
Now, put yourself in Paul’s shoes. What would be going through your mind?
Would you have been angry? Depressed? Ready to just quit everything? Would you have been questioning God’s goodness?
This must have been an incredibly dark time for Paul. Falsely accused of a crime he did not commit, isolated from his friends and community. Beaten by his own people. I’m sure that the only light that Paul was experiencing was coming from the lamps scattered around him during his house arrest.
While it might be easy to assume that, Paul did not allow himself to be a victim of his situation. He did not allow his circumstances to circumvent the light of peace that he had found in Jesus even though he was surrounded by darkness.
How was Paul able to focus on the lamplight of peace in his life even though everything was following apart?
Could it be that when Paul encountered a problem, our series verse popped into his head?
Psalm 119:105 NIV
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Shipwrecked …. Your word is a lamp…
beaten …. Your word is a lamp…
hungry … your word …
naked and afraid … your word …
Even though Paul’s life looks like one disaster after another that you can read about in 2 Corinthians 11, we find him writing to a group of believers so that they will remain faithful to God and one another and he clues them and us today on what this type of unity produces within the people of God: peace.
NEED: Have you experienced that kind of peace in your life? Do you want too?
If you do, then Paul tells you where you can find that peace for yourself today and what that peace produces within your life when you find it for yourself, personally and corporately as a church. He tells us in Ephesians 2:14-18
READ Ephesians 2:14-18
Ephesians 2:14–18 NIV
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Scripture Statement: Paul is reminding the Ephesian believers that the lamplight of peace comes from Jesus Christ.
Sermon Statement: The light of peace that you are searching for can only be found in Jesus.
Transition: If you are searching for peace, then you need to realize that …
Point #1: Peace is a Person (v. 14a)
Paul tells the Ephesian believers and us today that peace is not a state of mind, freedom from disturbances, or some tranquil season of your life. Peace is not something that you produce inside of yourself or create by removing stressful situations from your life. Peace is not something that you can achieve by upgrading your car, house, or friend group. Instead, Paul is reminding us that we can have peace only when we have Jesus because peace is a person.
In the original Greek language that Paul wrote in, all the words point back to the beginning of this new sentence: Christ himself. In fact, verses 14-18 is all one sentence. The literal word for word translation would be: Himself for he is peace our … It is all pointing back to Jesus. It’s all about Jesus!
I love how these two modern translations put it:
Read Eph. 2:14a (NIV) – For he himself is our peace, ...
Read Eph. 2:14a (NLT) - For Christ himself has brought peace to us.
What both of these translations are doing is showing us that Jesus is the originator and author of peace, but he doesn’t keep it to himself instead he brings his peace to us and shares it with us so that it can permeate our lives and rule within us no matter what is happening around us. Jesus is the creator and deliverer of our peace.
Peace doesn’t come to you when you remove negativity from your life. Peace doesn’t happen to you when your favorite season comes back around and pumpkin spice lattes or my favorite Nutty Pumpkin from Dunkin’ shows up to bring you blessings upon blessings. Am I right? Where my pumpkin people at?
No, peace comes into your life when Jesus comes into your life because Jesus is the author of peace.
That’s why when Jesus was about to leave his closest followers and friends and go to the Cross so that peace can come for us all, he told them these comforting words in John 14:27.
READ John 14:27
John 14:27 NIV
27 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.
You cannot leave peace or give peace if you don’t have peace and Jesus has the peace that we are all searching for in our lives.
Peace was an essential part of Jesus’ ministry. Everywhere he went, peace followed for those who put their trust in him. In fact, the Old Testament prophets viewed peace as being a central characteristic of the messianic kingdom.
Isaiah 9:6-7 supports this idea that a future perfect king will one day rule over all creation and peace will pour out over the earth.
READ Isaiah 9:6-7
Isaiah 9:6–7 NIV
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
That king has come. The Prince of Peace has already walked this earth and defeated darkness by being our sacrifice so that we could receive His peace and live out His peace even in the midst of destruction, despair, depression, or utter devastation.
The peace that Jesus gives is not contingent upon the circumstances and situations of your life. Your life could literally be falling apart, yet the peace that Jesus alone gives can permeate your life and be the sustaining force that fuels you through your valley of despair.
While the lamplight of peace is not contingent upon life’s situations, it is dependent upon you having a relationship with Jesus.
READ 1 John 1:5-7
1 John 1:5–7 NIV
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
When you have a relationship with Jesus, it doesn’t mean that you light is going to great. Rather, it means that His peace can guide your life because his lamplight is illuminating your next step.
I know this to be true because I’ve experienced it in my life. I’ve seen the light of Jesus peace push back the darkness and depression in my life.
In 2015, Heather and I moved back to Cincinnati from Pittsburgh.
Jetta died / apartment froze / apartment flood / mom / Heather’s dad / Eric / Granny
All of that happened within like 3-4 years.
But I’ll never forget, we were sitting in a worship service and I was just a wreck. I couldn’t pray, I couldn’t worship. I was mad. I was mad at God for allowing all of these to happen to us. We were just devastated. But God wasn’t ready to give up on us and my wife saw this picture of Jesus shielding us from all that Satan was sending our way. Sure some awfully painful things happened, but when Heather told me about what she saw I knew that Jesus was fighting for us, he was protecting us, his light was still shining into our darkness and I could rest in the peace that only He can give and that made all the difference.
Do you want that kind of peace?
Even though your life is falling apart and ever solution you try simply falls short of truly satisfying you, there is a peace that transcends any and everything this world tries to offer you and that peace has a name and it is Jesus and He is welcoming you (mess and all) with open arms because of His great love for you.
Stop trying solution after solution and simply surrender to Him. Receive his peace and let his peace light your path forward.
You see peace isn’t just personal, even though you personally experience it. Rather, peace is a person, and his name is Jesus.
Transition: If you are searching for peace, then you need to realize that peace is a person and that …
Point #2: Peace has a Purpose (vv. 14b-16)
Paul goes on to show us that not only is this peace from Jesus, but the peace that only Jesus gives has a purpose. That purpose was to create in himself one new humanity relationally united together into the family of God.
Jesus’ peace not only shines light into your life defeating darkness, depressions, and despair. Jesus’ peace also ends division, hatred, and hostility between both God and one another.
READ Eph. 2:14b-16 … who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
The only way that God was going to be able to create this new humanity and put to death this hostility was by destroying the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, that existed between us and God but also between us and other people who don’t look like, vote like, act like, or worship like us.
Remember I told you that Paul was writing this letter while under house arrest because he was falsely accused of bringing a non-Jewish person into the Temple? Well, Paul is using this imagery of a physical barrier that God destroyed based on a literal, historical, physical barrier that existed within the Jerusalem Temple that literally kept non-Jewish people out of God’s presence.
Pictures of Dividing Walls in Jerusalem Temple [PICTURE 1] Here is an illustrated drawing of what the Temple would have looked like in Jesus’ day and when Paul was writing to the Ephesian believers. A massive building, but all the white space would have been the Gentile Courtyard.
[PICTURE 2] In this picture, you can clearly see that non-Jewish men and women were only allowed to come a certain distance into the Temple until they were met with a literal physical barrier that was a “four and a half foot high [wall] surrounding the inner courts [that] served as a dividing wall.”
“The Jewish historian Josephus informs us that thirteen stone slabs written in Greek and Latin stood at intervals on the barrier, warning Gentiles not to enter.”
[PICTURE 3] Picture of Warning Sign “Archaeologists have discovered two of these tablets. The inscription reads: ‘No foreigner is to enter within the forecourt and the balustrade around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will have himself to blame for his subsequent death.’”
This is why Paul was beaten by the religious elite of his day in the end of Acts 21. This is why Paul was under house arrest because he was falsely accused of bringing a non-Jewish man past this dividing wall and further into the Temple which housed the presence of God at that time.
But Paul is reminding these believers and us today that God is no longer cooped up in the Temple in Jerusalem, instead after Jesus’ death and resurrection, He has made all those who believe in Him His temples (1 Cor. 6:19-20), therefore we can be constantly connected with our Creator because there is now no separation between us and God or us and one another.
Jesus destroyed the very thing that was built to keep people far from him and from one another. Jesus broke down the dividing wall of hostility so that His peace could reign in our hearts and lives and light our paths toward relational unity with both God and others.
Application: Do you still have walls that Jesus needs to tear down? Do you still have walls that separate you from Jesus? From others? Do you have any walls that keep you from relational unity with others who don’t look like you? Vote like you? Share the same zip code or tax bracket as you?
If you have walls built up around your heart and mind today, Jesus wants to tear down those walls and bring true peace into every area of your life.
Transition: When you allow the lamplight of peace shine in your life, then you are allowing the prince of Peace give you a purpose and a mission to share his peace to others. Because…
Point #3: Peace is our Mission (v. 17-18)
Jesus is not only the originator of peace who unites all those who put their trust in him, but he is also the deliverer of peace who brings peace to those who are far off and in need of peace.
Paul tells us that …
READ Eph. 2:17-18
Ephesians 2:17–18 NIV
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Jesus’ mission was to bring about peace between God and his creation. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can now have peace with our Creator and when we have peace with our Creator, we are then able to have peace with His creation.
However, this peace won’t just naturally happen between believers and nonbelievers, or even between believers and believers. Instead, we must join Jesus in his mission of bringing peace to those we come in contact with both in-person or online.
When we do this. When we join Jesus on his mission of bringing the lamplight of peace to others. When we tear down walls that divide people from one another, when we tear down walls that segregate neighborhoods from each other, or when we tear down walls that force us to make Democrats the enemy or force us to hate Republicans, when we join Jesus in his mission of bringing the lamplight of peace to others, that’s when Jesus calls us blessed.
READ Matthew 5:9
Matthew 5:9 NIV
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Being a peacemaker, destroying barriers that separate people from one another or from God, tearing down dividing walls of hostility – that's just family business when it comes to the family of God. Therefore, act like God’s children …
READ Colossians 3:15
Colossians 3:15 NLT
15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
READ Romans 12:17-19
Romans 12:17–19 NLT
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.
When you join Jesus’ mission of bringing the light of peace to those who are searching for it, then your life will be blessed, the Lord will repay those who try to tear you down, and you will have access to the Father through the Spirit.
Transition: If you are searching for peace, then you need to realize that peace is a person, it has a purpose, and you can join Jesus in His mission of bringing the light of peace to others.
Big Idea: We are all searching for peace, but it can only be found in Jesus.
Is your life in chaos right now? Are you hurting? Are you missing that loved one that was taken far to soon? Are you questioning if God is even present, let alone good, because there are dividing walls everywhere in our culture? Do you need peace in your life?
Allow Jesus to be your lamplight. Let his peace light up your path so that you can live out the words of Psalm 23:
Let Jesus’ peace lead you beside quiet waters. Let Jesus’ peace refresh your soul. Jesus’ peace can guide you along the right paths so that you won’t have to fear even when everything is falling apart around you. Let Jesus’ peace guide you to the table he has prepared for you so your cup will overflow as you trust in the person of peace: Jesus.
Read Numbers 6:24-26
Numbers 6:24–26 NLT
24 ‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. 25 May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. 26 May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’
Go today with the peace that only Jesus gives showing His peace to everyone you meet and allowing His peace to break down barriers so that you can join Jesus in making peace with others.
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