MY PEACE I GIVE TO YOU
JOHN 14:27; ROMANS 8:6, 13
John 14:27 “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.
Romans 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
Romans 8:13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
When our hearts are troubled, we become anxious and unhappy, everything seems bothersome, and fear creeps in. This is why Jesus said, “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you” (John 14:27). If you haven’t received this peace throughout your life, then please, heed today’s message and accept the Word into your hearts with prayer. I pray, in the name of the Lord, that peace will abound with all your families, until the day of meeting the Lord in His Kingdom.
Today’s passage, John 14:27, was Jesus’ heartrending message, His final will, spoken to His disciples three days before His crucifixion. Romans 8:6, the other verse in today’s passage, was spoken by Apostle Paul in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He said there is no peace in the mind set on the flesh, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. Who among us, as we all compete to survive in this world, can truly be free from anxiety? Who among us does not have thoughts of the flesh? We all do. But the problem is what comes “first.” Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness! In other words, we must listen to the Word first, thank God first, and be firmly determined by faith first. When we do these things first, everything else will change. When we first receive peace from God, then we can bring peace in our other relationships with our parents and others, and our marriage will be perfected with the true unity of being one body and one heart. When we can all follow the Word in our lives, just as the father of faith Abraham did (Gen 12:4), please believe that all the blessings of Abraham will be upon our families.
“The mind set on the Spirit is peace.”
What is the mind set on the Spirit?
If we human beings of the flesh are not reigned by the Holy Spirit, then we live according to the thoughts of the flesh. But when we have great faith, which is most pleasing to God, and live according to the thoughts of the Spirit, then we will receive both physical and spiritual peace. It will be like God saying, “You think of Me first? Okay, I will bless all that you do, both spiritually and physically.” Our physical lives will become well, our businesses will see no more loss but prosper greatly. Naturally, our heart will be at ease. When one finds it hard to believe, a mind that is set on the Spirit will seek God’s help through prayer in order to believe. We love God as we would love our parents, spouses, and children, but we must love God first and our parents next. If we do not prosper, it is because we think of our parents more than God. God is saying, “You are a god to yourself. Do it your way, then.”
Let us live a life of true peace, a life with overflowing vessels, a life of widening our doors to let in the wind of blessings.
When our minds are set on the Spirit, God will say, “You realize you can’t do it on your own, right? Since you are a creature confined by space and time, you are right to ask Me.” Then He will establish all things for us (Prov 16:3). This is why God tells us to cast all our burdens upon Him (Ps 55:22). Because we try to do things our way without committing it to Him, our hearts are heavily weighed down and nothing works out. But when our mind is set on the Spirit and we worship God in Spirit and in truth, He will take care of even the fleshly thoughts in us.
Christianity is all about peace. Jesus tells us to cast all our anxieties and worries on Him. Once we give away something to someone else, it is gone for good. Even if you have been a Christian for forty or fifty years and have served only the church, please ask yourselves if you have truly cast everything upon the Lord. If a Christian does not have peace, that means that he or she is not properly walking the path of faith, since there is not even a small amount of faith. Faith is casting our anxieties upon God. When we are anxious, we are overcome with fear and worry, thinking, “How will I keep living?” We have fear because we have not tasted the perfect love of Jesus (1 John 4:18). Perfect love casts out fear, anxiety, and worries.
All of you who are here today, do you have peace? Do you have true peace? Let us answer God in all honesty. He knows what is in our hearts. “Are you at peace? But you have no faith, for you’ve never entrusted anything to Me and always decided everything for yourself!” Please know that God is not to be mocked.
There is no peace for the wicked. Who are the wicked?
What is the cause of having no peace? We must find the cause. We as Christians are blessed, in every “going out” and “coming in” (Ps 121:8). The blessed are always in peace. In contrast, there is no peace for the wicked (Isa 48:22; 57:21). We must not think that the wicked are only those who steal, lie, or commit all kinds of sin. Those who do not worship wholeheartedly and do not heed the Word of the living God are truly the wicked. God said the storm and tempest will swirl down and burst on the head of the wicked (Jer 23:19; 30:23). A storm can sweep away even a roof. A roof swept away symbolizes wiping away the head of livelihood. What can go well when our head is swept away? God said He has given the wicked to the sword (Jer 25:31). This is why sinners can never have peace of mind.
How much did Adam’s heart pound after he sinned in the garden of Eden (Gen 3:3-7)? After he sinned, he realized that he was naked and became afraid. He sewed fig leaves together and made himself a loin covering, but it shrivelled and dried up when the sun rose. Being ashamed again, he hid himself among the trees. At that very moment God called out to him, “Adam, where are you?” God did not ask because he was wondering where Adam was physically hiding; He was asking of Adam’s inner status. He was asking “What is the state that you are in?” Adam is not a proper name. It just means “man.” But this man was no longer at the place he was supposed to be, because Adam and Eve did something that man should not have done. Even now, when children don’t behave, the parents will sometimes shout out, “Do you call yourself a human being?!” Although Adam was still a man existing in the visible world, there was no more man in God’s sight. If God saw Adam as a man, then He would not have said, “Where are you?” In Isaiah 60, 62, 65, and Revelation 2, God said He will give a new name to he who overcomes. This means God would call by a name that is different from Adam.
When Adam sinned, he lost his peace
“Where are you?” Within this intimate, compassionate, and merciful voice of God was His overflowing love. Adam, who had once enjoyed a life of living with God, had to part with God because of his sins. God was moved with pity and sympathy toward Adam, worrying, “Now that they have disobeyed and sinned, how will they survive?” The divine Father’s anguish of losing the man of His creation was beyond imagination. How much anguish and sorrow would you feel if your newborn child was ripped away from you before you could even name him? A mother cries out to her law-breaking child, “How have I labored sleeplessly, day and night, to raise you, hoping that you’d turn out to be a great man! But look at you! You’re no better than an animal! The whole family has prayed for you, but what has become of you!” The boy was indeed her son, but the mother feels as if she had lost her son and laments, “You are not a human being!” Likewise, God was looking for the man whom He created when he said, “Adam, where are you?” This message is so profound.
But to Adam, God’s kind and loving voice sounded like thunderous rebuke, so Adam replied, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid. . . so I hid myself” (Gen 3:10). This reflects Adam’s mentality of wanting to cover up and hide himself. He heard God’s Word, but he was no longer man. A person is enslaved by whatever it is that overcomes him. He had already become a slave to Satan the devil. God the Father was heartbroken, and Adam and Eve, who were being rebuked, lost their peace.
Losing peace means we have turned our back on our mission
God gave a mission to Adam and Eve, but they had abandoned their mission. There is no one existing on earth who is without a mission. When we forget or turn our back on our mission, peace will vanish from our lives. Frustration will fill us as we feel blocked on all sides. Look at the prophet Jonah in the Old Testament. God entrusted to Jonah a mission to proclaim the Word to the Gentiles in the land of Nineveh. But Jonah looked the other way and fled to Tarshish. He went below into the hold of a ship to hide away from God’s sight. But the ship met a storm and was on the verge of breaking into pieces. Realizing that throwing their cargo overboard was no use, the sailors dragged out Jonah who had been sleeping in the hold and threw him overboard into the sea, and the sea immediately stopped its raging. People’s lives and homes are caught up in a tempest when there is sin. Only when sin departs can we find peace and prosperity in our lives and businesses. Dear saints, can you speak in truth that you have never had a guilty conscience? Let us repent at this very moment as we receive the Word. Then everything will be resolved. Our given mission is not something we can choose to obey or disobey. We must prioritize our missions first, whether in life or death, whether or not we have food to eat. Everything will be in peace when we cling onto our mission. This is because our mission comes from God. When we obey and live for our mission, we will find greater peace and tranquility (Phil 4:6-7). Our mission is not something that our feelings or circumstances can control or decide. There is never peace for those who abandon their mission and run away. No matter our position in church, we will only be in peace when we fulfill our missions. Nothing will work in our favor if we do not carry out our entrusted mission. Once we decide to live for our mission, first peace will enter our hearts, and second, joy will spring forth. And we can truly live happily. As a result, our entire family will be blessed.
Peter forsook his mission and followed “at a distance”
Look at Peter. Where was he when Jesus was taken by the Roman soldiers in the conspiracy of the religious leaders? When Jesus was bound in ropes and lashed with whips, shouldn’t Peter have been the one to stand in front of them and stop them? He should have done out there, shouting, “He is God! He is the Messiah to come! He is the One prophesied by all the law starting from Genesis. He is eternal life! Yet you are here to seize Him? Are you insane?” Instead, Peter, who once said so confidently, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death,” became afraid and followed Jesus “at a distance when [Jesus] was caught, lest [Peter] would also die” (Matt 26:58; Mark 14:54; Luke 22:54; John 18:15). And Jesus knew this. “You are not staying close to Me but following at a distance because you are scared of being jeopardized!” The Lord’s heart sank heavy with much sadness. Jesus was standing in the court of the high priest Caiaphas, barely dressed in the fierce winter winds. He hadn’t had any food the past few days. Jesus was interrogated in such a state while Peter warmed himself by a fire. When Peter heard, “This man was also with Jesus of Nazareth,” he denied knowing Jesus three times. He even cursed and swore with an oath. Just then, Jesus turned around and saw Peter, and their eyes met, and immediately the rooster crowed. Peter then remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
Luke 22:61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”
Dear saints, we must never forget this. When we don’t live for our God-given mission, then we too are following the Lord at a distance. Can our homes prosper then? There is no peace in a life that does not know Jesus. Peter spared himself, worrying about what others would think of him. Would his heart be at peace like that? How often do we deny Jesus in our lives? We walk the paths we are told not to walk. We keep going even when our conscience tells us, “This is a sin.” Sinning while knowing it is sinful is no different from Peter’s denial of knowing Jesus. Spoken tradition says that Peter thereafter would jump and bitterly weep every time a rooster crowed.
“Pastor, my name is in the Bible!”
I didn’t have a car during my time ministering at Ilsuk Church of Shillim-dong, so I had to walk to all the home visitations. One time, my legs were in so much pain that I had to stop in a small alley to rest. The deacon accompanying me was more than fifty-years old, and he kept reading the Bible as I rested. I was so moved to see him reading the Bible so diligently in-between visitations. I looked over his shoulders and saw that he was reading Matthew chapter nine. He then burst out, “Pastor! I saw my name!” I asked him, “What do you mean? How is your name there?” And he replied, “Here! It says a sinner. Isn’t that my name?” My heart bowed in deep respect toward him. With such great faith as his foundation, he later became successful in his business and bought a nice house, and even an orchard. He would memorize almost all my sermons. If I preached about Jonah three weeks ago, then he’d say he was Jonah; if I preached about Peter, he’d say he was Peter. He’d tell me he wanted to be like Peter who obeyed God’s Word and like Jonah who obeyed God-given mission. When the saints of Pyungkang strive to read the Bible—to understand and believe the Scriptures and live accordingly—then I believe that we and our descendants will be successful for generations to come. God’s words are always sure and guaranteed because it was spoken by God Himself. We must never depart from the Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Let us remember that man shall not live by bread alone but by the Word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Please believe that receiving His Word into our hearts will form the cradle of blessings of peace.
Like Gideon’s 300 warriors, fight off all evil forces that threatens peace
In conclusion, why is there no peace? There is no peace because there is no faith. We may say that we believe in God, but there is still no peace because we believe without faith. We believe only with our words, but there is no actual faith of fervently abiding in the Word in our everyday lives. We bring the Bible to church but don’t read or listen or heed the words in the Bible. So how can there be any faith? Romans 10:17 says faith comes from hearing. Revelation 1:3 states that the blessed are those who read, hear, and heed the word of the Lord. I pray that you will have a life of faith that enjoys true peace, a life of faith that is overflowing with God’s blessings, where God will command us to open wide our doors, so that the great winds of blessing may blow in. As the winds of blessing blow in, may your parents, spouse, children, and yourself all be healthy and grateful in all aspects. Praises and prayers will flow in naturally, and such a household will never slumber but always be awake with the fervent faith of preparing and waiting upon the Lord (Matt 24:42; 25).
During the judges’ period, the Midianites raided the land of Israel like a swarm of locusts. A force of 135,000 men (equivalent to thirteen military divisions today) besieged Israel, and Judge Gideon became afraid and wanted to confirm if God was truly working through him. So he prayed, “Please let the dew fall only upon the fleece of wool, and everywhere else remain completely dry.” When he saw his prayer had come true, he prayed to God in thanksgiving. Gideon truly believed in God, so God said, “Gideon, there is one thing I want you to do before you fight against the Midianites. Just say these two things: First for God, and second for Gideon, for the people must trust in their prophet Gideon.” So Gideon let thirty-thousand men return while only three-hundred remained. They all held a torch in a pot in their right hands. They then shattered the pot and raised the torch at once, suddenly bringing brightness to the darkness all around them. The Midianites panicked, thinking that a great army of Israel was attacking them, and ended up killing one another with their own swords. Twelve-thousand men fell, and Gideon’s men wiped out the remaining 15,000 men overnight.
Dear saints, please know that when we believe in God’s word, we too can be like the warrior Gideon, wiping out the evil forces in our businesses and homes, and even the viruses that torment our bodies. Just as Israel enjoyed peace for twenty years thereafter, may peace abound in your personal life, your workplace and family. The name of our church is Pyungkang [“Peace”] Church. Our name will be fulfilled. Why wouldn’t it? But faith must come first in order for peace to come. Please be assured that life’s success and victory is no longer someone else’s but yours when you live by faith and have peace. I bless you in the name of the Lord, that every family that is represented here become victors of peace!
Do not trust in men, power, or wealth, but only in God and receive true peace
Thomas hid for eight days because he was the only one among the disciples who didn’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus. He refused to believe unless he could touch Jesus’ pierced sides and nailed hands and feet. Then, Jesus appeared before him and said, “Peace be with you.” When Thomas asked for forgiveness in tears, Jesus replied, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20:28-29). We, like Thomas, haven’t seen or touched Jesus, but faith is the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1). The Bible is not a pie in the sky. May all saints of Pyungkang Cheil [“Peace First”] Church become men and women of faith, so that whatever you hope for will become realized! I pray this blessing upon you in the name of the Lord. Insecurity enters when we lack faith, diligence, honesty, and devotion, and when we lose focus on the word of God and forget praise and thanksgiving.
Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
To prevent losing peace in our hearts, Jesus promises to protect us through the work of the Holy Spirit. How wonderful is this! We are safe when we believe in God. The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe (Prov 29:25). Paul said he was determined to know nothing except the cross (Gal 6:14; 1 Cor 2:2). His life was always a life of entering the kingdom of heaven. He believed that the righteous Judge was waiting for him with the crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:7-8). May all the saints of Pyungkang never trust in men, power, or wealth, but in God alone, thereby enjoying the blessing of peace that others don’t. May we succeed in all that we do by God’s grace and become the garden of Pyungkang, the garden of peace, and the garden of victory, until that day comes when our parents, spouses, children, and grandchildren can all walk with Jesus into His everlasting kingdom. I pray this blessing upon you in the name of the Lord.
Those with peace will not get sick. Soon, the bells of life in the kingdom of heaven will ring. We were originally created to never see death. This is why God set eternity in our hearts (Ecc 3:11). As we listen to the bells of the kingdom of heaven, let us race with all our might by fixing our eyes upon Jesus, the Lord of eternal life. Those who live until that final moment will be instantly changed, both physically and spiritually (Phil 3:20-21; 1 Thess 4:13; 1 Cor 15:51). If we have decided to believe, we might as well hope for the best and look toward transfiguration by living and believing until His return. Let us give a big applause to offer all glory to God.
Rev. Abraham Park’s sermon during Wednesday Service on March 11, 2009
*This post can also be read in 'Champyungan'. (http://champyungan.com/en/)