Fight for Peace in the world without Peace

Fight for Peace in the world without Peace  

#3 Preach the gospel of peace

  1. Pursue peace in family, church and society

  2. Pursue peace in our own self

  3. Pursue peace in gospel sharing

6:15 "And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;"

We are definitely living in a world without peace nowadays, as Christ’s return is approaching toward the end of this world. Just think about the 911 terrorist attack with our naked eyes on TV and the revenge of invading the Islamic country of Iraq by the United States. Today, the U.S. army is still safeguarding in the territory of Iraq as international police and battling constantly with the terrorists.

We’ve also learned from TV news that Israel and Palestine have been occasionally fighting with each other while the leaders in both countries have been painstakingly making numerous attempts to achieve peace on behalf of their citizens. Explosive bombing and gunfire shootings have been reported from time to time, causing the death of many innocents. Peace efforts seem to be a dream that will never come true between the Jewish and the Islamic countries.

The more terrible threat is the development of nuclear weapons in such dangerous countries as Iran and North Korea. To be sure, Iran is going to be a threat to the Middle East, and North Korea a threat to the eastern countries. They have been a headache for the western “nuclear” countries.

The Pope of the Roman Catholic always urges for world peace when there is no worldly peace found on earth. Jesus said in Matt 24:6-7 about the sign for the end of this world, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars…for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” The only kind of peace is found in Jesus. He said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.”

So, let us explore the kind of peace we as Jesus’ followers are to pursue.

Preach the gospel of peace

1.   Pursue peace in family, church and society

By pursuing peace in our family, church and society, we are actually preaching the gospel of peace.

Family disputes occur all the time in every family. II Timothy 3:1-5 lists all of our human nature of sins that can cause human conflict, which is also the common phenomenon in the last days of the world: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers (不解怨), false accusers, incontinent (不能自約), fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady (任意妄為), highminded (自高自大), lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” Our human nature proves to ourselves that we are usually self-centered rather than God-centered. Why? Because we always walk by our own flesh, not by God’s will. To fight for peace in our family, we must walk by the Holy Spirit.

When there is any family dispute in our families, we should learn to pray immediately for patience before the situation gets worse. If we can hold our temper and calm down at the beginning, it certainly helps ease off the tense situation. We should further pray and ask God to give us wisdom to handle the tense situation. Just remember that we do not fight to be the winner of the quarrel but to fight hard for family peace. The same principle applies for our peaceful relationship with others in the society, particular in our church. Rom 12:18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

In talking of the peace in church, do you know that the greatest enemy of church does not come from the outside, but from the inside of the church itself? Satan is so clever that he knows to cause dissension among the church leaders or ministers and let them fight with each other. The end result is of course splitting up of the church foundation. It is a very critical moment for the church to defend itself from Satan’s attack. That’s why Paul
emphasizes so much on the unity of the church in Ephesians: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephe 4:3)

This is true also with our family members. When Eve was tempted by Satan to eat the forbidden fruit. She was the first to fall into temptation, and later on she led her husband to fall. Had Adam been strong enough spiritually, he would have kept himself from sinning against God even though he was enticed by his wife to sin. So, be careful and stand firm. Often times, Satan will try to attack the weaker members and attack you through the hands of that member. If you are not strong enough in the Lord, not only the weaker member becomes Satan’s captive, you will become its captive too.

2.   Pursue peace in our own self

We feel the battles every day in our minds and hearts—the battle of fighting against doing evil things. Paul says in Rom 7:19, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” Temptations are everywhere. We tend to fulfill the desires of our fleshly body. Sometimes we even give ourselves reason to fall into the trap of sin.

Usually when you have question to ask yourself whether you can do this or do that, you are doubting whether it is a sin for doing it. Chances are that you may feel guilty if you insist on doing it. If you really want to do it for some reason, say for pleasure, you may try to rationalize your action by giving yourself some nice reason to cover up your guilty feeling. Paul says in Rom 14:23, “For whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” What Paul means that if you are not sure that what you are doing is not a sin, you are not doing it by faith. By doing it without faith, you have sinned, according to the principle given by Paul. My advice is that if you are really not sure whether it is a sin to do something, you are safe not to do it. By not doing it, you have the faith that you have not committed any sin. So if going to cinema to watch a movie is something that bothers you, just forget about it and you will earn peace in your heart. If playing mahjong keeps bothering you, don’t attempt to think of any excuse to allow yourself to play or you are already quenching the Holy Spirit. If you feel the internal struggle in your spirit for doing or not doing something, Paul says in I Thes 5:19, “quench not the Spirit.” If you insist on quenching the moving of the Holy Spirit in your heart, you are not obeying the Holy Spirit. Only when you obey the Holy Spirit will you find peace in your heart. So don’t give Satan any opportunity to entice you to sin. In Ephe 4:26 says, “Neither give place to the devil.” (NRSV, ‘Do not make room for the devil’) Jesus also teaches us in the Lord’s prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." (Matt 6:13) If you make room for the devil, you are allowing yourself to be tempted by the devil. You are actually burning fire with your own hands!

3.   Pursue peace in gospel sharing

Chapter 2 of Ephesians talks about the role that Jesus took as a peace-maker of the gospel. In Ephe 2:14-15 says, “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;…so making peace.” Then Paul follows by using the word “reconcile” to mean the peace we have with God: “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh (near).” (Ephe 2:16-17)

Before we have turned to God, we were all God’s enemies. There was hostility between us and God. Now that we have turned to God, we enjoy the peace with God. This is the kind of peace we need to seek for those who are still the enemies of God. So sharing the gospel of peace is the obligation of every Christian. In Ephe 3:7-8, Paul speaks of his ministry of preaching to the Gentiles being the grace of God, “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Likewise, we should exercise God’s power to preach the good news of Jesus Christ and turn the children of wrath to be the children of God. So, everywhere we walk, we should always wear the shoes of preaching or promoting the gospel of peace.